In the spirit of Halloween, Austin Katz, SwimSwam’s No. 6 high school recruit in the Class of 2017, tricks Florida and treats the men’s defending National Champion Texas Longhorns with his verbal commitment. That leaves Sean Grieshop as the lone uncommitted in the high school boys’ top 10.
Katz announced his commitment via his Twitter account:
Beyond excited to announce my verbal commitment to the University of Texas. HOOK EM???????? pic.twitter.com/DjtcxyNuuf
— Austin Katz (@katz_austin) October 14, 2016
Katz is from Sarasota, Florida, and he swims for the Sarasota YMCA Sharks and Riverview High School. He is the reigning FHSAA 4A Champion in the 200 free (1:37.02) and 100 back (47.92). More impressively, he finished 5th in the 200m back, 15th in the 100m back and 51st in the 200m free at this summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials.
It’s a bit of a trick for the Florida Gators because not only is Katz a Florida native, but also his older sister, Taylor, is currently a senior on the Gator women’s team, while his older brother, Alex, was supposed to transfer into the men’s program this season from Michigan. (Alex Katz, however, is not listed on this season’s roster for Florida.) The Gators did, however, pick up Michael Taylor from the State of Georgia, so the loss of Katz has already been mitigated.
Depending on who you ask, Katz is the best backstroke prospect in his class. Michael Taylor is faster in the 100 (both yards and meters), but Katz is faster in the 200 (at least in yards, and he beat Taylor in the 200m finals at the Olympic Trials). Katz also has the edge over Taylor in the 100 and 200 freestyle short course.
His best times are:
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The Olympic Trials Finalist will feel right at home at Texas, where middle-distance freestylers (Olympic Champion Townley Haas), sprint freestylers (Brett Ringgold and Joseph Schooling) and backstroke specialists (John Shebat and Ryan Harty) are plenty. However, the Longhorns will be in a bit of a rebuilding phase when Katz arrives on campus, after losing Jack Conger, Clark Smith, Will Glass and Will Licon to graduation.
If you have a commitment to report, please send an email to [email protected].