Texas coaches Kris Kubik and Eddie Reese didn’t have to sink a whole lot of travel costs into their latest verbal commitment Will Licon. The Jr. Pan Pacs breaststroker has hopped around several Texas teams (the West Texas Typhoons in El Paso, COPS in Dallas), but settled on Reese’s doorstep with Nitro Swimming: the hottest club team in the state at the moment.
Licon finished 19th in the 200 breaststroke at the Olympic Trials, though his time from the Jr. Pan Pacs Championship in Hawaii two months later (2:13.75) would have put him into the semi’s.
With Licon not swimming high school as a junior, his long course times are better than his short course times, but in yards he’s been 55.80 and 1:58.08 at last year’s Winter Junior Nationals. He’s definitely a little bit better in the 200 than the 100, but the Longhorns will need him to excel in both. Especially after this year’s graduation of Nick D’Innocenzo, there’s a big hole in the Texas lineup where a breaststroker should go. If Licon can get down to a 53 by the end of his freshman year (which seems within reach), then he should be second in line for medley relay spots behind Israeli freshman Imri Ganiel (who has been a 1:00 in long course).
Licon is the third big recruit for the Longhorns this year, following butterflier Clark Smith and backstroker Will Glass.
In a semi-related thought, both Cal and Texas are quickly filling up their rosters with big name swimmers; those two programs are believed to be the two front-runners for the services of one Jack Conger, who has yet to publicly make his commitment. Watch and see how these other pieces falling into line might affect Conger’s decision.