Virginia Tech Snags World Juniors Semifinalist Luan Grobbelaar

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South African-born Luan Grobbelaar has verbally committed to Virginia Tech for fall 2021. Grobbelaar trains with Kiwi West Aquatics in New Zealand and represents New Zealand on the international stage. He also holds NZ Age Group Records in the 200m breast, 200m IM and 400m IM.

“I am super excited to announce my verbal commitment to Virginia Tech University. I want to thank Coach Sergio for giving me this amazing opportunity to join his team and to coach Andrew for helping and guiding me through this process. Massive thanks to mom and dad who has always supported and believed in me. I am super proud to become part of the Hookie Family. 2021 has big things planned.”


  • 100 back – 57.32 / 50.55
  • 200 back – 2:04.12 / 1:49.65
  • 100 breast – 1:04.24 / 56.07
  • 200 breast – 2:15.72 / 1:58.66
  • 200 fly – 2:03.20 / 1:48.46
  • 200 IM – 2:02.69 / 1:47.64
  • 400 IM – 4:21.81 / 3:50.09

Grobbelaar is quite versatile and is primarily an IM’er, with the 400 IM probably his best event in long course. He has been to World Junior Champs in 2017 and 2019, representing South Africa in 2017 and then switching to New Zealand for 2019. In 2017, his highest finish was 13th in the 400 IM (4:24.17), while last year, he was also 13th in that event (4:23.83). In 2019, he was also 15th in the 200 IM (2:03.52) and 15th in the 200 breast (2:16.26).

At the 2019 New Zealand National Champs, Grobbelaar was runner-up in the 200 breast and both IM races. In spring of 2019 at the South African Age Group Champs, he won titles in the 100 back, 200 back, 200 breast, 200 IM and 400 IM.

VT is led in breaststroke by rising sophomore AJ Pouch (52.9/1:53.6 last season). The H2Okies had a very strong 200 fly group led by Blake Manoff (1:40.4) and Antani Ivanov (1:41.0) in 2019-20, and both should have a year of overlap with Grobbelaar. In the IMs, VT was led by Sam Tornqvist (1:45.0) in the 200 and Filippo Maso (3:44.9) in the 400.

At the 2020 ACC Champs, where VT was fourth among 12 teams, Grobbelaar’s converted bests would’ve slotted him into the 400 IM B-final and the 200 breast C-final.

He’ll join backstroker Ben Eckerson in VT’s class of 2025.

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Hero Peter
2 years ago

Can’t wait to see if Sergio can make him faster or slower

2 years ago

Thats a nasty 200 brst relative too his 100, nice stuff. Must be super fit.

2 years ago

Using your Swimulator real time converter, which makes more sense to use because it compares actual historical data and not just the theoretical conversions his times would be:

100 back: 48.32
200 back: 1:46.15
100 breast: 55.40
200 breast: 1:57.11
200 fly: 1:47.6
200 im: 1:45.88
400 im: 3:46.91

2 years ago

VirginiaTech is building quite the team!

2 years ago


About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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