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Tokyo 2020 Gold medalist Ahmed Hafnaoui has announced his commitment to Indiana for Fall 2022. The Tunisian 18-year-old was arguably the biggest dark horse Gold medalist of the Tokyo Olympics, winning the men’s 400 free on the first night of the Games.
“I am happy to announce my commitment to Indiana University! I want to thank my family and coaches. I am very excited to swim in the NCAA! Go Hoosiers”
Hafnaoui had an electric performance in the 400 free in Tokyo, first swimming a personal best in prelims (3:45.68) to grab an outside lane for finals. In finals, the teenager was on the race from the start, flipping in 3rd at the 100m mark, then moving into 2nd until the last 50, where he unleashed a field-leading 27.23 to edge out Australia’s Jack McLoughlin for Gold. The swim marked Tunisia’s first Olympic Gold medal in the 400 free, and Hafnaoui became of the few teenage medalists in Tokyo.
Hafnoui is a freestyle specialist, and could be an immediate star in the NCAA distance free events. Here are his lifetime bests in meters, along with conversions to yards:
- LCM 200 free – 1:50.86 (1:36.99 SCY conversion)
- LCM 400 free – 3:43.36 (4:10.34 SCY conversion)
- LCM 1500 free – 15:16.04 (14:58.07 SCY conversion)
- SCM 200 free – 1:49.10 (1:38.28 SCY conversion)
- SCM 400 free – 3:44.49 (4:16.56 SCY conversion)
- SCM 1500 free – 14:36.12 (14:30.89 SCY conversion)
Hafnaoui’s LCM 400 free converts to a 4:10.34 SCY 500 free, which would have ranked him 6th in the NCAA last season. His SCM 1500 time of 14:36.12, which is nearly 2 years old, converts to a 14:30.89 SCY 1650, which would have been the 3rd-fastest in the NCAA last season. It’s unclear exactly what the NCAA field will look like for the 2022-2023 season as of yet. Florida’s duo of Kieran Smith and Bobby Finke could potentially take 5th years, in which case they would be competing for the Gators during Hafnaoui’s freshman year. Smith is the current NCAA record-holder in the 500 free, while Finke is the NCAA record-holder in the 1650 free, and won Gold in both the 800 and 1500 freestyles at the Tokyo Olympics.
Either way, Hafnaoui will provide a huge boost to the IU freestyle group, which is currently led by American Olympian Michael Brinegar. Mikey Calvillo, who was the Hoosiers’ fastest 500 freestyler last year, is a senior this season, which means there’s a possibility he’ll be back for a 5th year in 2022, but it’s unclear as of now
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