PHOENIX, Arizona, October 23. THE Texas Longhorns secured one of the biggest recruiting commitments of the season today, as Jack Conger made the call to coach Eddie Reese that he will be locating from Maryland to central Texas next fall.
As a six-star recruit in the Swimming World Recruit rankings and the reigning Swimming World Magazine Male High School Swimmer of the Year, Conger is going to be a major player in his four years in Austin. Though athletes are only allowed to swim up to three individual events at the NCAA championships, Conger has at least four events in which he would have placed in the top 16 at the 2012 NCAA meet, based on lifetime best times: 200 free, 500 free, 100 back and 200 back. Additionally, his 100 free, 100 fly and 200 fly are not far off the 16th-place time from that meet.
"I feel that Texas was the best fit for me," Conger told Swimming World. "I really had to put forth a lot of thoughts through this whole process. I had to go with my heart, and it was telling me to go to Texas."
Conger did wonders in the short course pool in his junior year, nearly breaking Jeff Kostoff's 1983 national high school record in the 500 freestyle while representing Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. A few months earlier, he was just as impressive in his specialty, the 200 backstroke, posting a 1:40.41 at the Potomac Valley championships that would have placed him third at the NCAA championships. This event will create plenty of storylines for Conger in his time at Texas, as he will likely face off against fellow Class of 2013 member and new California Golden Bear Ryan Murphy, whose lifetime best in the 200 back is 1:40.90.
Conger, who represents Rockville Montgomery Swim Club, will be a key player on relay duty in the dual meet and championship season for the Longhorns, as his versatility in the freestyle events, as well as his backstroke prowess, means he could fit into every relay event equally well. With a limit of four relay events, the only issue is which relay will Conger not swim?
While the NCAA championships is an annual goal for Conger under Reese's direction, the ultimate accomplishment is undoubtedly a spot on the Olympic team. Conger was fifth in the 200 backstroke at the 2012 Olympic Trials behind Ryan Lochte, eventual Olympic champ Tyler Clary, Nick Thoman and Murphy.
The freshman class at Texas is looking promising. Breaststroker Will Glass made his commitment last week, and junior national champion butterflyer Clark Smith making his choice in September.
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