Sub-20 Sprinter James Jones Verbally Commits to Michigan Wolverines

National Junior Team swimmer James Jones from the Nation’s Capital Swim Club (NCAP) has verbally committed to the Michigan Wolverines, officially opening the recruiting run on July 1st: the day where Division I coaches are allowed open contact to prospective high school seniors.

“The University of Michigan has a unique combination of top-tier academics, a brilliant coaching staff and team culture,” Jones said of his future home. “I know that, at the University of Michigan, I will have the best possible support in maturing as an athlete, as a student, and as a man.”

The 6’1″ Jones is a prized recruit in the class of 2016; unlike the prior to recruiting classes, which were littered with top sprinters, only two swimmers in this year’s group have been under 20 seconds in the 50 freestyle so far: Jones and California Albert Gwo (uncommitted).

Jones’ 19.95 ranks him just behind Gwo, but at an overall level, Jones takes the title for the class’ top American sprinter. His best times in yards:

  • 50 free – 19.95
  • 100 free – 43.97
  • 200 free – 1:39.48
  • 100 fly – 48.98

While Michigan has become a very diversified program thanks to what Dr. Josh White has done with the distance group, the program’s head coach, Mike Bottom, still leads the way as a sprint guru.

While the Wolverines graduate their best Bruno Ortiz, who was 19.09 last year, they still have the fastest returning 50 freestyler in the Big Ten in Paul Powers. As just a freshman last season, the powerful Powers swam a 19.21 and wound up 8th at the NCAA Championships.

Michigan also returns Vinny Tafuto to the sprint group (19.53) – he’ll be a senior when Jones arrives – but will have to spend the 2015-2016 season developing another sprinter. They graduated half of their 200 free relay from last season, and there’s not an obvious heir to replace them, though Bottom has a knack for finding hidden sprint talents (as he did with the aforementioned Ortiz brothers).

Michigan was the only program with two A-finalists in the 50 free at last year’s NCAA Championship meet.

Jones is a member of the USA Swimming Junior National Team, and is the defending NCSA Junior National Champion in the 50 yard freestyle. That earned him a spot on the 51-swimmer NCSA Junior National Team that traveled to compete at the Irish National Championships. He placed 2nd in that meet in the 50 free in long course (23.23), but has been as fast as 22.81 in the 50 meter pool – his lone Olympic Trials cut to date.

He is also the two-time defending champion in the 50 and 100 yard freestyles at the Virginia High School League 6A (big school) state championship meet, where he represents Robinson Secondary School.

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SwimGeek
6 years ago

Should be a great fit for both Jones and Michigan.
FYI – there’s a typo in his times. His 100 fly time is :48.9 not :58.

wave rider
6 years ago

Good choice. Mike Bottom is currently the best sprint coach in college swimming. I’ll be surprised if Dressel beats Paul Powers this summer.

wave rider
Reply to  wave rider
6 years ago

in the 50free

SwimGeek
Reply to  wave rider
6 years ago

Bottom is great (and so is Powers) . . . and I know much has been said about some of Dressel’s swims at NCAAs last year . . . but he still went 18.6 in March.

Markster
Reply to  wave rider
6 years ago

You’re a funny guy

fatsmcgee
6 years ago

I have a feeling Jones will flourish there. NCAP is certainly a quality program, but as far as I know has very little sprint specialization. With a coach like Bottom high quality dryland training Jones can do great things.

Tide Rider
6 years ago

WaveRider- As Braden said in the article, Powers went to the 50 free A final; so while Powers is fast, he’s logically not as fast as the swimmer who won, Caeleb Dressel.

Powers: 19.2
Dressel: 18.6

If you think Mike Bottom’s insanely skilled sprint workout regime will give Paul Powers a .6 improvement in the 50 in 1 Summer, then why weren’t those changes made during the season, allowing Powers to go at least an 18 at NCAAs?

Person who can actually read
Reply to  Tide Rider
6 years ago

Um last time I checked, the summer meets are held long course:
Powers: 22.20
Dressel: 22.22

MIKE
Reply to  Person who can actually read
6 years ago

Dressel did the 22.22 at the 2013 junior worlds. Last year he went “only” 22.35 with a little training because he took some months off to enjoy his senior year. He is back again, i don’t doubt his potential to go 21 high this summer

Markster
Reply to  Person who can actually read
6 years ago

Paul Powers has the potential to be a great college swimmer. Dressel already is a great college swimmer and has the potential to be a great international swimmer. They are on different leagues.

REALSWIMDAD
6 years ago

Congrats to the young man on his big time accomplishment! I am looking forward to following his progress. I will certainly have my age group sons read this article in an effort to serve as additional inspiration in the pool.

Rick Paine
6 years ago

Congratulations James. it was fun to work with you and your parents with the recruiting process. James is a class act with a ton of potential. Congrats to Pete Morgan, club coach for helping him reach this level.

calswimfan
6 years ago

oh man, great pick up for michigan.

curious27
6 years ago

Giles?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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