NCAA All-American Cameron Craig to Transfer to Ohio State

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Cameron Craig will be making his return to NCAA swimming this fall at Ohio State. Photo Courtesy: Dan D'Addona

2017 NCAA All-American Cameron Craig announced late Sunday night he was transferring to The Ohio State University. Craig swam two years at Arizona State in 2017 and 2018 where he had a big breakout freshman season with a fifth place finish in the 200 free (1:32.46) as a freshman in 2017.

As a freshman, he only swam relays at NCAAs, leading the Sun Devils to All-American status in the 400 free relay placing sixth as well as 15th in the 800 free. He had a bit of a sophomore slump in the 2017-18 season.

He was a second slower at the 2018 NCAAs, swimming a 1:33.48 for 13th place in the 200 free, but he did manage a 1:32.7 lead off on their 800 free relay that placed 10th.

But after that meet, Craig left Arizona and went back home to Michigan to deal with some mental health issues. In an interview with Swimming World’s Dan D’Addona over the summer, Craig said:

“I just needed a break, so I came back and spent a lot of time with family,” he said. “Now, I feel at home again being back in the water. Fourteen months is a long time. It was good that I noticed it, but it was hard because I loved ASU. But to better myself, I had to leave it all behind and start on my feet again. It is a rough road, but once you get there, you get there.”

Craig joined Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics in April and swam in his first meet in 14 months at a small club meet in June, swimming a 53.61 in the 100 fly to punch his ticket to the 2020 Olympic Trials.

“He has been swimming with a lot of pressure for a long time. I was relieving and nice to see him relaxed. That swim was monster,” MLA coach Jim Whitehead said.

“We have seen a real turn in him the past couple of weeks. He is starting to enjoy it again. He was hitting a low point and I reached out to him just to make sure things were OK. Over time, things started to materialize. In many ways, our first four months with Devon were the same. He had gone through the whole cycle of what Cameron is going through right now, so he has been a very valuable resource for Cam. It has been instrumental.”

Craig swam at the US Nationals earlier this month in Palo Alto, placing 21st in the 100 free (49.75) and 18th in the 100 fly (52.46), the latter being a lifetime best. His 100 free best is still a 49.1 from the summer after his freshman year at Arizona State.

Craig is not listed on Ohio State’s roster for the 2019-20 season but if he is to be eligible this season, he is joining a strong Buckeyes team that finished ninth at NCAAs in 2019 and were third at Big Ten’s. If he is able to replicate his best times from Arizona State, he will be a strong national title contender in the 100 and 200 free with the departure of Dean Farris to take an Olympic redshirt. Texas’ Daniel Krueger (41.49) is the top returner in the 100 free and Drew Kibler (1:31.76) is the top returner in the 200. If Craig elects to do the 100 fly instead of the 200 free (or pull a Katie McLaughlin and do both), his biggest competition should come from NC State senior Coleman Stewart.