Keaton Jones, #5 Recruit from Class of 2023, Makes Verbal Commitment to Cal

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Keaton Jones from Gilbert, Arizona has announced his verbal commitment to the University of California, Berkeley’s class of 2027.

“I am humbled to announce my verbal commitment to the University of California Berkeley. Thank you to Coach Durden and Coach Kreitler for believing in my potential and giving me this opportunity. I couldn’t have gotten here without my family, Coach Joe, the entire Neptune Team, and the Higley Knights. But the biggest thank you goes to my coach, Alex. I’m the swimmer I am today because of her and I’m lucky to have her in my corner. I am looking forward to wearing blue and gold and representing the Cal Bears!”

Jones is the number 5 recruit on our Way Too Early list of top-20 boys from the high school class of 2023. He is the fastest 200 backstroker in the cohort, with a time (swum at 15 years of age in December 2019) that is only 2.6 seconds off what it took to score at 2021 NCAA Division I Championships. Cal now joins Florida with two top-10 recruits from this class, as #9 Roman Jones has also committed. Jones and Jones will join the Golden Bears in the fall of 2023 with another commit, Samuel Quarles (“Best of the Rest”).

A junior at Higley High School, Jones does his club swimming with Swim Neptune. He won the 100 back (50.45) and was runner-up in the 500 free (4:30.78) at the Arizona High School Division 2 State Championships last fall. He also led off the medley relay (23.89) and anchored the 200 free relay (21.39). Most of his SCY times date from before the pandemic closed the pools. He swam a 1:42.81 in the 200 back at 2019 Winter Juniors West, coming from behind to get the win by .16. His 1000 free, 100 back, and 400 IM times come from February 2020. Jones fired off a bunch of PBs in the fall of 2020, though, beginning with Swim Neptune’s Welcome Back Invite in August. There, he lowered his PBs in the 100/500 free. In October, he added new times in the 100 breast, 100 fly, and 200 IM. At 2021 Four Corners Sectionals, he won the 100 back (49.61) and 200 back (1:43.19) and notched PBs in the 50 free and 50 back.

Jones competed in the 100/200 back and 400 IM at U.S. Olympic Team Trials Wave II, improving his 100 back time to 56.21. He wrapped up his LCM season at Austin Sectionals in July, winning the 200 free (1:51.51), 100 back (56.29), 200 back (2:00.41), and 200 IM (2:05.13) and finishing second in the 200 fly (2:02.74) and eighth in the 50 free.

Jones has long been this cohort’s best 200 backstroker; he broke the 13-14 NAG in the LCM event with 2:00.28 in October 2019. He is a good fit for Cal, where backstrokers like Ryan Murphy, Jacob Pebley, Destin Lasco, Bryce Mefford, Daniel Carr, and Colby Mefford have thrived in recent years. Given his impressive flexibility, he could also turn into a 200/500/1650 freestyler for Cal.

Best SCY times:

200 back – 1:42.81
500 free – 4:22.66
200 free – 1:38.00
400 IM – 3:51.97
100 back – 48.67
1000 free – 9:18.11
1650 free – 15:22.83
100 free – 45.32
50 free – 20.70

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