Lopez was an associate head coach at Auburn, but moved on to take the head coaching job at Virginia Tech when Auburn head coach Brett Hawke resigned this offseason. Gonzalez, one of the top freshmen in the nation this past season, will make the same move, joining Virginia Tech for his sophomore campaign, the school announced in a press release.
Gonzalez had an incredible rookie year, winning an SEC title in the 400 IM (3:35.76), placing second in the 200 IM (1:40.67, behind only American record-setter Caeleb Dressel) and third in the 200 back (1:40.82). He didn’t swim best times at NCAAs, but did still score points in the 200 IM. His times from the conference round would have placed him second in the NCAA 400 IM final and fifth in the 200 IM.
Gonzalez is a massive pickup for Virginia Tech. He would have won ACC titles in the 200 IM by almost two seconds and the 400 IM by almost five. He should be a massive addition to a Virginia Tech program that was 6th in the ACC last season. Just adding in individual swims from Gonzalez, VT would have added about 90 points at the conference level last year. He’s also a 2016 Olympian for Spain, and should be in the mix for a 2020 Olympic bid. He’s a former multi-time World Junior Championships gold medalist.
He’s also the second major name to transfer out of Auburn this offseason, leaving a bit of a bare cupboard for new Auburn skipper Gary Taylor. Sprint sensation Zach Apple announced earlier this spring that he would be transferring out to Indiana next season. Between Gonzalez and Apple, Auburn has now lost 172 SEC points, two SEC event titles and 8 relay legs from its 2018 squad.