Hugo Gonzalez, one of the biggest breakout stars in the NCAA last season, is set to join the University of California as a student this coming January, according to the news site Nataccion. You can read their original reporting on Gonzalez here. This comes following a recent report that Gonzalez was looking at transferring to either Cal of Florida for next semester. SwimSwam has reached out to learn whether Gonzalez will be immediately eligible to compete for Cal in the 2nd semester of this year, but we haven’t yet received a response.
Gonzalez originally came to the U.S. to compete with Auburn University last season. Following Sergio Lopez‘ announcement that he would be taking over as head coach at Virginia Tech, Gonzalez also announced he would be transferring to VT to stay with Lopez. However, Gonzalez then announced in September that he would be returning to Spain to train instead of attending VT.
Gonzalez is a Spanish Record-holder, World Junior Record-holder, 2016 Olympic semifinalist, and 2018 European Championships finalist. In his freshmen season with Auburn, Gonzalez was the SEC champion in the 400 IM (3:35.76), runner-up in the 200 IM (1:40.67), and 3rd place finisher in the 200 back (1:40.82). He was slightly off those performances at NCAAs last year, only scoring in the 200 IM, where he came in 10th.
If Gonzalez is cleared to compete next semester, it will be a pretty big shake-up to what already looks to be a fierce battle for the NCAA title. Cal would be picking up the 3rd fastest SCY 400 IM’er in history, and the 7th fastest 200 IM’er in the NCAA last year (4th fastest returner from last year). Gonzalez also has scoring potential in the 200 back. On top of that, Hugo has a 200 free best time of 1:34.79, which should provide a boost to the Cal 800 free relay, which is likely their worst of the five relays, at least at this point in the season.