Winter Jrs Sprint Champ Ethan Harrington Switches Commitment from Princeton to Stanford

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Palo Alto High School senior Ethan Harrington, who had originally committed to Princeton University, has flipped his commitment and will attend Stanford University next fall. He wrote on social media:

“I’m excited and honored to announce that I will be swimming and studying at Stanford University this fall. Thank you so much to everyone who helped me get here! So excited to be part of such a great team! 🌲🌲”

This is the second change of commitment for Stanford’s class of 2027; the Cardinal also nabbed Gibson Holmes after he first verbaled to Duke. What makes Harrington’s different is that it took place after the National Letter of Intent** signing date and underscores one of the disadvantages the Ivy League has in recruiting – without an NLI contract, athletes like Harrington can continue to talk to other coaches.

**The NLI is a binding agreement between the student-athlete and an academic institution, whereby the institution agrees to provide financial assistance (what we think of as an athletic scholarship) in exchange for the student’s promise to attend the school. All colleges and universities that participate in the NLI program agree to not recruit a student-athlete once he or she signs an NLI with another college or university. As the Ivy League does not allow its member institutions to offer athletic scholarships, their eight schools do not participate in the NLI program.

Harrington, “Honorable Mention” on our 2023 list of top recruits, is a big get for Stanford, who had already landed #2 Rex Maurer, #7 Gibson Holmes, and “Best of the Rest” Henry McFadden for the class of 2027.

Since last June, Harrington has dropped time in his best events and now sports PBs of:

  • 50 free – 19.73 19.45
  • 100 free – 43.60 42.92
  • 200 free – 1:38.11
  • 100 fly – 48.23 47.51

We were ruminating about whether he would develop his 200 free or 100 fly, and he seems to have answered that question over the last six months. At Winter Juniors West, swimming for Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics, Harrington won the 50 free (19.45), was runner-up in the 100 free (42.92), and came in seventh in the 100 fly (47.51), all with lifetime bests.

Harrington, Maurer, Holmes, and McFadden make up the kind of recruiting class that had eluded Stanford until 2022. The Cardinal men finished seventh at the 2022 NCAA Division I Championships, up seven spots from their 14th-place finish in 2021.

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Yovo Kolev
11 months ago

Congratulations to Ethan! He’s obviously a hard-working, high-achieving young man if he was in a position to be able to turn down Princeton in order to study and swim at Stanford.

Austinpoolboy
1 year ago

Ya know, Parents sometimes have a say in these things. As in: “kid, we love you, but don’t have the money to fly you cross country every other weekend. and it’s cheaper if you continue to live in the basement”

swimapologist
Reply to  Austinpoolboy
1 year ago

Ya sometimes.

But also, anybody who lives across the street from the Stanford campus…generally CAN afford that.

VA Steve
1 year ago

Oh there is so much misunderstanding in this comment section. Ignore the swimming element. Academics are about what is taught within the 4 walls and who teaches it. Period. For Ethan, and every other college aspirant it is about fit. Good luck young man. You have quite a future ahead of you.

Celes
1 year ago

UC BERKELEY IS BETTER

Jane
1 year ago

It’s a sport. Be real. Go to the university that offers you the greatest academic experience. swimming is fine, but at the end of the day, it end after college. No doubt that Princeton provides the greatest education par none.

bob
Reply to  Jane
1 year ago

homie this is stanford 😭

Admin
Reply to  bob
1 year ago

Name one Stanford graduate who ever had a successful career in anything. Just one! Christian McCaffrey doesn’t count.

Timothy
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

This sort of comment from you has shown great ignorance and biasas. Many successful Stanford student athletes went on to professional sports, like NFL, NBA, Baseball, and in the business world, and coaching.

Do your homework.
Ogonna Nnamani Medical docot
Jenny Thompson Medical doctor and co founder of a company
Summer Sanders, Broadcasting
Chad La Tourette, Bain and Co.
Maya Dirado, McKinsey and Co.
Janet Hu Software Engineer at Talroo
David Nolan, Sr. product mgr at Ixlayer
and many more.

Admin
Reply to  Timothy
1 year ago

THAT’S THE JOOOOOOOOOOOKE.

So confused
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Why so much hate for Stanford? I don’t understand why you continually disparage this institution. There are thousands of people who worked hard to get to Stanford then graduate from Stanford. I guess your definition of success must be different than mine. To not like their swim program is one thing but to talk poorly about the entire institution is another. I’m assuming you won’t approve this comment but Braden read it twice for yourself.

jeff
Reply to  So confused
1 year ago

it was sarcasm if that’s what you missed. Obviously some (most) Stanford grads go on to have success lives lol

Admin
Reply to  jeff
1 year ago

Okay but Tiger Woods, Elon Musk, and Elizabeth Holmes all dropped out of Stanford. What does that tell you??

Admin
Reply to  So confused
1 year ago

Nah ima leave it up because this reply makes the joke even better 😂😂

Jon
Reply to  Jane
1 year ago

This comment is a perfect reflection of the swim swam comment section. 😂

jeff
Reply to  Jane
1 year ago

acting like Stanford isn’t on par with Princeton lol

VA Steve
Reply to  Jane
1 year ago

Depends on what you are studying. Stop focusing on the brand. Who is actually teaching?

PNW
1 year ago

Jonathan Tan (22.1/49.0/1:48.7 LCM Freestyler) is also a part of this class! He and Ethan will combine to be the best short king sprint duo in the NCAA.

Daddy
1 year ago

Dude……….. what?

Ferb
1 year ago

Congratulations to Ethan! He’s obviously a hard-working, high-achieving young man if he was in a position to be able to turn down Princeton in order to study and swim at Stanford.

I don’t think the Ivy League’s lack of NLI’s is a “disadvantage” per se. It is simply how they choose to do business. They offer a package of swimming and non-swimming opportunities that attract the kind of student athletes they want. If they thought the lack of NLI’s was a problem for their recruiting, it could be easily solved by agreeing among themselves to offer a token fixed amount (e.g. $500 towards books) to all recruited athletes. However, it wouldn’t be a good look for them to hold prospects… Read more »

Swmmom
Reply to  Ferb
1 year ago

NLI, not NIL

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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