When it comes to junior college swimming, Indian River State is the gold standard. Their latest star-in-the-making is South African Jarryd Baxter, a rising distance specialist who has already set new NJCAA records in his first semester with Indian River.
In November, Baxter posted a time of 9:02.11 in the 1000 free. Not only did that break the NJCAA record by over 12 seconds, but he now ranks 20th across all collegiate divisions for the 2018-19 season. At the 2018 Spartan Invitational in Clearwater, FL, last month, Baxter continued to re-write the record books. He went 1:46.98 in the 200 IM to take down a 20-year-old NJCAA record, then posted a 4:20.72 to break a 9-year-old the NJCAA record. He also swam a 1:36.63 lead-off leg as Indian River set a new NJCAA record in the 800 free relay.
In an NJCAA press release, Baxter mentioned his intent to transfer, at some point, to Division I.
“The opportunities have been endless,” stated Baxter. “Not only do I get to do what I love the most, but I have a huge amount of support from my coaches and teammates. It’s also allowed me to find my feet coming into a new environment and I feel I will be ready when the time comes to move up to the NCAA D1 level. This was the right start for me and I am happy that I started it in the NJCAA.”
He also added, “The main goal that I have is to make a name for myself in and out of the pool. I hope to continue improving as an athlete and a student here at IRSC and then also when I transfer after graduation.”
Wherever Baxter ends up, should he pursue a transfer to D1, will likely benefit from his additions as he’s already shown his talent in his first season in yards. A press release from November of 2017 shows that Baxter had initially signed with Auburn’s class of 2022, who are freshmen right now, but he evidently diverted his path to Indian River instead. Oftentimes, athletes will opt to begin their NCAA career in junior college before taking on the sport at the D1 level.