NCAA Champion Zalan Sarkany Announces Transfer to Indiana for 2024-2025 Season (Not NC State)

The defending NCAA Champion in the men’s mile Zalan Sarkany has had a change-of-heart and will instead head to Indiana next season after verbally committing to transfer to NC State earlier this year.

Sarkany swam his first two seasons of eligibility at Arizona State University, including as a member of the Sun Devils’ first-ever National Championship team. As a freshman in 2023, he joined the team at the semester and finished 8th in the mile (14:42.80), 17th in the 400 IM (3:44.56), and 29th in the 500 free (4:16.61).

As a sophomore, he spent the semester back training in Hungary, and upon return to the US broke out immediately. In a January dual meet against Grand Canyon, he set an Arizona State school record in the mile (14:28.09), which would have won the NCAA title a year earlier. He continued to rewrite the Arizona State distance record books throughout the season, ultimately winning the NCAA title in the mile.

In spite of going 14:30.57 at the NCAA Championships, slower than his best time, he was still five-and-a-half seconds clear of the field in that race. His biggest competitor to repeat next season might be University of Florida commit Luke Whitlock, who has been 14:50 in high school already and who joins a training group that included NCAA runner-up Gio Linscheer (14:36.01) and 3rd-place finisher Andrew Taylor (14:37,80) next season.

Indiana, meanwhile, had only one entrant in the 1650 free at NCAAs: senior Tristan Dewitt.

While distance frees haven’t been the strength of the current iteration of Indiana men’s teams, Michael Brinegar was 6th at the NCAA Championships in 2022 in 14:33.76, a time that would have been 2nd last year. That demonstrates that the Hoosiers can train distance swimmers – though NC State has developed into one of the most consistent distance groups in the NCAA.

After NCAAs, Sarkany went home to Hungary for the National Championship meet in April, where he won the 800 free (7:57.41) and was 2nd in the 1500 free (15:10.44). He had already qualified, pending the remaining of the qualification period, with a 14:53.19 in December, so that was more of a training meet for him.

That time would have placed 7th at last year’s World Championships.

While his first two years of college were split between Tempe and Hungary, Sarkany says that he’s planning on training at Indiana year-round beginning next season.

“After the Olympics, I can finally experience college swimming in the fall season too,” he told SwimSwam, saying that he plans to join the Hoosiers in late August.

As for what drew him to Indiana, he said “the plan of me being able to train pretty well for long course meters (the Olympic course) too, not just the short course system.

“They also gave me a pretty good scholarship deal, that I couldn’t refuse. Their business school was also a significant decision maker.

“But I think the major thing was their swimming plan for me regarding the future.”

Indiana’s Kelley School of Business is ranked 20th in the country by the US News rankings in their 2024 list.

Indiana has had a boon of an offseason. Sarkany’s former Arizona State teammate Owen McDonald, also entering his junior season, is transferring to Indiana as well. He was the team’s 3rd-highest individual scorer at the NCAA Championships with 46 points.

They also will welcome mid-major breaststroke star Brian Benzing for his 5th year of eligibility (announced last June) after he finished 2nd at last year’s NCAA Championship meet; and Matt King from Virginia, who is an All-American sprinter and member of the US National Team.

While they lose NCAA Champion Brendan Burns to graduation, key contributors Tomer Frankel (32 NCAA points), Jassen Yep (17 individual points), and Gavin Wight (NCAA relay-only swimmer) are all back to use their 5th season of eligibility.

Indiana already had to use some creative scholarship allocations to lure in McDonald, and finding more money for Sarkany gives Indiana the kind of depth to begin serious conversations about their NCAA title potential.

With the breakup of the national champions from Arizona State and the Texas men rebuilding quickly under Bowman, there seems to be about a 4-team battle for next year’s title (Cal, Florida, Indiana, and Texas). Indiana was 4th at last year’s meet, finishing 147.5 points behind the champions and 68.5 points behind Cal.

With the best diving crew in the country returning mostly intact (Carson Tyler, Quentin Henninger, Max Weinrich, and Maxwell Weinrich combined for 126 NCAA points) and high-impact freshmen like Cooper McDonald (1:34/4:17 freestyler) all set for next season, Indiana could close that gap in a hurry.

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Hoooooosier
1 month ago

Hoosiers!

Bob
1 month ago

This doesn’t change the fact that Klay Thompson shot 0/10 in an elimination game

Jamba Juice drinker 49
1 month ago

Wonder what happened to the last high profile international distance swimmer who attended IU

Hoooooosier
Reply to  Jamba Juice drinker 49
1 month ago

Word on the street (unverified) is he might be making a trip back to Bloomington…

Aquajosh
1 month ago

That’s three high profile international recruits lost by NC State in the past few years.

Ksawery Masiuk
Noe Ponti
Zalan Sarkany

Andrew
Reply to  Aquajosh
1 month ago

add Alexander Aslak Norgaard (14:37 SCM miler before NCS) to that list

And add the dozens of domestic recruits in the last 5 years that have flopped, transferred or retired and you have Stanford esque levels of squandered talent

Bing chilling
Reply to  Andrew
1 month ago

Having people decommit isn’t really squandered talent as they never had the chance to develop them.

Snarky
Reply to  Andrew
1 month ago

Andrew still chapped about how State rejected him and had to bench warm at UT. Lol

Queens
1 month ago

🔴⚪️🔥💪🏼🆙📈

Shaddy419
1 month ago

I’m honestly curious how they make all the scholarship money work with all these transfers, returners, and incoming freshmen

Cousin Eddie
Reply to  Shaddy419
1 month ago

Scholarship to internationals and NIL to citizens.

25Back
1 month ago

Breaking News from Adam Schefter: Kevin Durant has just committed to join the Indiana Hoosiers for the 2024-2025 season

Jimbo
Reply to  25Back
1 month ago

Durant is was and shall always be a Longhorn.

Wrong sport
Reply to  Jimbo
1 month ago

Didn’t you hear? He’s been near Arizona State the last few years. And what would Shefter know about it. His sport is Football.

RealCrocker5040
1 month ago

Another one on the Kharun hit list

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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