The South Carolina distance group, which had a boon in this fall’s recruiting class, has gotten one stronger. Egyptian National Record holder Ahmed Akram Abbas has verbally committed to the South Carolina Gamecocks: a program that he will join in the fall of 2014.
An elated Abbas told us today that he was “so happy to be a Gamecock” and that he was looking forward to what the future held for his swimming.
Abbas scored in the top 8 at the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships in both the 800 and 1500 freestyles. In the 800, he was 5th in an 8:02.88, and in the 1500 he placed 8th in 15:24.00. For reference, that made him faster than either American entry in the 800, and faster than one of the two American entries in the 1500.
Even with his lofty finish, that 1500 time is far from his best. He swam a 15:10.99 at the 2013 Belgian Championships in the 1500 free, and at the Irish Long Course Championships swam a 4:26.3 in the 400 IM and a 2:01.7 in the 200 fly. He’s the 2012 African Champion in the 200 fly.
Columbia, South Carolina now becomes a hub of sorts for elite Egyptian swimmers; Abbas’ fellow distance swimmer, and huge domestic rival, Marwan El Kamash, is currently a sophomore at South Carolina. El Kamash took Abbas’ National Record in the 800 free by a few tenths at the recent Egyptian National Championships.