On the same day as head swimming & diving coach Eddie Reece announced his retirement, the Texas Longhorns got a boost when one other key member of their 2021 NCAA title-winning team announced he would return next season.
University of Texas national champion diver Jordan Windle plans to return to Austin for a 5th season with the varsity program. That makes Windle the highest-profile swimmer or diver so far to announce that he would take advantage of a special rule enacted by the NCAA this season where any athlete who competes in the winter 2020-2021 sports season, which includes swimming & diving, will have the opportunity to extend their eligibility by 1 year because of the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
Because Windle is staying at the University of Texas, and not transferring, for that 5th season of eligibility, his scholarship will be exempt from the limit of 9.9 scholarship equivalents per season afforded to NCAA Division I programs.
Windle won the 1-meter title at the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships, soaring 20 points ahead of his freshman teammate Noah Duperre. He also finished 2nd on 3-meter and 4th on platform.
His 52 individual points made him the 4th highest-performing athlete of the whole competition, behind only swimmers Shaine Casas, Ryan Hoffer, and Bobby Finke. For his efforts, Windle was named the CSCAA Diver of the Year.
Windle was part of a big Texas effort on the boards where, along with Duperre, sophomore Andrew Harness, and freshman Brendan McCourt, the Longhorns scored 83 diving points as part of a 27-point margin of victory over the runner-up Cal Bears.
Depending on who returns from a powerful Cal senior class, and a substantial gap between those two programs to the rest of the country, Windle’s decision to return makes the Longhorns heavy favorites to reapeat their championship next season, albeit with a new head coach in charge.
Windle was also the 2019 NCAA Champion on platform.
Windle represented the United States at the 2015 World Championships, where he finished in 9th place on mixed synchronized 3-meter with Abby Johnston, and at the 2017 World Championships, where he finished in 26th place on platform. A native of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, Windle was adopted from Cambodia at 18 months old. He and his dad Jerry Windle co-authored a children’s book called “An Orphan No More…the True Story of a Boy” about their experiences with adoption.
In general, there has not been a rush of seniors flooding to take advantage of the opportunity. For those elite seniors, like Windle, who do, this would restore them to 4 NCAA Championship opportunities after the 2020 championships were canceled.