Ray Looze Provides Update On Ahmed Hafnaoui: “We Wish Him Nothing But Success”

The Indiana men will not have the world’s best distance freestyler at their disposal this season.

IU head coach Ray Looze recently provided SwimSwam with an update on the status of Ahmed Hafnaoui, confirming that the Tunisian superstar will not compete for the Hoosiers this season.

“We’re really proud of what we accomplished with him last year,” Looze said. “We wish him nothing but success in the future. I mean that.”

Hafnaoui started competing with Indiana in the NCAA in the fall of 2023, one year after he arrived in Bloomington.

The Tokyo Olympic champion in the men’s 400 freestyle, Hafnaoui was expected to begin collegiate competition in 2022-23, but was ruled a partial qualifier academically and sat out for the season.

However, he did train at Indiana and found remarkable success, winning a pair of World Championship titles in the men’s 800 free (7:37.00) and 1500 free (14:31.54) while earning silver in the 400 free (3:40.70), producing some of the fastest swims in history.

In November, word broke that Hafnaoui had left campus in Bloomington and was training with The Swim Team (TST) in California, having raced just two meets for the Hoosiers.

Hafnaoui, who turned 21 in December, has not competed since Oct. 25, when he produced multiple victories for Indiana in a double dual with Auburn and Mizzou.

He was entered to compete at the U.S. Open in December, but scratched due to illness.

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Sorin
4 months ago

Im very curious to know what TST really can do for Ahmed over what he had going at Indiana given how incredible his 2023 Worlds was. Wishing him all the best of course, hoping it works out for the better for him and we see more insane performances from him.

DistanceFan
Reply to  Sorin
4 months ago

TST: Marwan El Kamash (top 10 at Worlds), Will Gallant, David Johnston, Michael Brinnegar…
IU: ???

snailSpace
Reply to  DistanceFan
4 months ago

IU: Ahmed Hafnaoui

Sorin
Reply to  DistanceFan
4 months ago

Yes of course I’m aware of the distance ensembles being put together there, but to be fair most of these names are only domestically successful and have yet to put up anything notable in LCM, and most of my point is simply that the training methods, groups or environment or what-have-you at IU was clearly effective for him given his time drops. Not at all a diss to the guys at TST or anything I just have some trepidation about these kinds of decisions especially given the success he’s already been having.

FST
Reply to  Sorin
4 months ago

The facility isn’t everything. The most important thing is to find an environment in which you feel comfortable. And if that wasn’t IU for him then it’s good that he left.

Ketchup Drill
Reply to  Sorin
4 months ago

No classes, winter sunshine, beautiful California landscapes, happiness…..

oxyswim
Reply to  Ketchup Drill
4 months ago

He better still be taking online classes if he’s here on a student visa.

swimster
Reply to  oxyswim
4 months ago

is he still there tho?

Anonymous
Reply to  oxyswim
4 months ago

There are restrictions regarding online classes and student visas.

Bodybyfood
Reply to  oxyswim
4 months ago

Couldn’t he just walk back over from Mexico?

Last edited 4 months ago by Bodybyfood
Swimmer I.M
Reply to  Bodybyfood
4 months ago

He’s from 🇹🇳

Bodybyfood
Reply to  Swimmer I.M
4 months ago

A lot of people coming across the southern border aren’t from Mexico. That was part of the joke.

Winter Apple
Reply to  Bodybyfood
4 months ago

That’s…..not a good joke

FST
4 months ago

As someone who moved abroad at 17 to a country that was very, very different from the one I’m originally from, I understand that it can be hard to try and find a good fit. So, if he’s got friends in California and the training environment is right for him, I think it’s a good idea to go there instead.
Having said that, I can also imagine that the time and effort that goes into recruiting international students is probably quite substantial and it’s likely frustrating when they then decide to throw in the towel after a year or less.
Either way, I hope he’s happy with his situation now. I haven’t been this excited for the distance… Read more »

Andrew
4 months ago

😭😭😭💀💀💀💀

IU fans and old heads that were alive for the glory years in the 70s in shambles rn

Flybkbrfr
4 months ago

Schubert recruited him to SoCal. Promised him $$$. He won’t be back at Indiana.

Orange
Reply to  Flybkbrfr
4 months ago

Schubert is a traitor and a snake himself.

Mark Schubert
Reply to  Flybkbrfr
4 months ago

This is the most ignorant post ever! Stupid people that post falsehoods only make SwimSwam look bad.

snailSpace
4 months ago

Well, the road is clear for Sarkany… that being said, it would have been fun to watch him throw down some monstrous yards swims in the 500 and 1650.

Last edited 4 months ago by snailSpace
Swimgeek
4 months ago

“I mean that”

Inside
4 months ago

Same guy who has been trying to ruin his visa statues in US 🤣 sure Ray …

Mike Jones
4 months ago

Ray Looze seems very disingenuous.

Babashoff - Woodhead - Evans - Ledecky
Reply to  Mike Jones
4 months ago

He is.

oxyswim
Reply to  Mike Jones
4 months ago

He very well could be, and doesn’t have a great track record of wishing the best for people who are no longer benefiting him, but isn’t this a Looze-lose situation for Ray? Think the only thing the peanut gallery would take at face value would be if he said I think it was a mistake and he would be better off at IU.

Andrew
Reply to  oxyswim
4 months ago

Piggy-backing on this, what else is Ray supposed to say?

Saying nothing looks a lot worse than wishing someone the best of luck (whether it’s sincere or not) and the IU staff and program was already taking enough heat for Hafnaoui’s uncertainty.

New Age Outlaws
Reply to  oxyswim
4 months ago

Disingenuous?

He’s probably pissed (rightfully so). He could have aired him out here and he didn’t.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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