University of Georgia freshman Matt Ellis has chosen to transfer to the University of Texas next fall, he told SwimSwam today. “I love the school, coaches, and the guys here, but the sprint group just wasn’t here. Texas is the best place for me to be in route to Rio 2016,” Ellis said.
He will begin competing for the Longhorns in the fall of 2013 as a sophomore.
Ellis was the top sprint recruit in the high school class of 2012 after being the youngest swimmer to make the semifinal in the men’s 100 free at the 2012 US Olympic trials by four years. The next youngest was actually another Longhorn (Jimmy Feigen).
He placed 39th in the 100 yard fly with a 47.88 and 33rd in the 100 yard free with a 43.61 at his freshman NCAA Championship meet. His best times of the year, however, were all done at SEC’s where he swam a 19.6 in his 50 free, a 43.0 in his hundred free, and a 46.8 in his 100 fly.
That represents about half a second drop in each of his freestyle times from his high school bests and just over a second in 100 fly.
That sprint talent will be badly missed by Georgia and was also badly needed by Texas after the Longhorns graduated their top sprinters in two consecutive years: Jimmy Feigen and Dax Hill. The Georgia men are typically thin in the sprint freestyles, and were counting on four years from Ellis to help change that reputation.
The Longhorns become a serious NCAA team title threat for 2014, if they weren’t already, with this news. Their sprint group proved to be deeper last year than most knew (their own freshman John Murray had a great inaugural season), but a small recruiting class the year prior left them needing to reload. Eddie Reese has an outstanding class coming in next fall, and with Ellis and immediate-impact freshman Jack Conger joining the team, among others, their relay scoring will get a huge boost.
The Georgia men finished 10th at last year’s NCAA Championships, while Texas was 5th.
Austin is home for Ellis, as in high school he trained with the local Nitro Swimming club. He also trained with the University-based Longhorn Aquatics for 5 years earlier in his career.