Henry Keel of the Memphis Thunder Aquatic Club has verbally committed to the Virginia Cavaliers, he announced Sunday via his Twitter account.
Keel is a senior at Memphis University School, and specializes in the sprint freestyle without venturing too far from those races.
His best times in yards:
- 50 free – 20.92
- 100 free – 45.87
- 200 free – 1:45.14
- 100 fly – 53.98
Keel is a relative new-comer to the elite levels of club swimming, having not trained a full season of long course until after his sophomore year of high school.
Keel will begin the rebuild of a Virginia sprint group that is expected to be challenged this season. The Cavaliers return only one swimmer who flat-started faster than 20 seconds in the 50 free last season (Matt Lockman, junior, 19.96) and two better than 45 seconds in the 100 free (Nicholas Magana, 44.15, sophomore & Lockman, 44.18).
The result last season was an 8th place finish out of 11 teams in the ACC in the 200 free relay and a 9th place finish out of 11 teams in the ACC in the 400 free relay.
Virginia did pick up some good pieces in their recruiting class last fall, but none of them addressed their biggest need: sprint freestyles (Sam Magnan is an All-American distance freestyler, for example). In the short-term, expect 49-second butterflier and backstroker Zach Fong to be pressed into sprint freestyle duty this season; over the long-term, expect Virginia head coach Augie Busch to continue focusing his recruiting efforts on sprinters this fall.