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Rising high school senior Jon VanZandt from Frisco, Texas has verbally committed to Auburn University as part of their incoming class for fall 2022.
“I’m blessed to announce my verbal commitment to Auburn University. This opportunity wouldn’t be possible without my teammates, coaches, and my family. War Eagle!”
As a junior at Frisco High School in north Dallas, VanZandt was the Texas Class 5A (smaller schools of two classes, though still large by the standards of most states) runner-up in the 50 free and 3rd-place finisher in the 100 free.
That junior season was the culmination of a significant run of drops for him. He swam best times in the 50 free, for example, in December at a club meet, again in January at a District meet, and again in early February at a Regional meet. In total, he improved from 21.37 at his sophomore state meet to 20.48 in the 50 free; and in the 100 from 46.68 to 45.14.
VanZandt is a relative latecomer to year-round club swimming, registering his first results with Texas Ford Aquatics at 14 (a hiatus after a few swims when he was 7 and 8 years old). He’s developed quickly in the sprint freestyles, though he still doesn’t have much of an SEC-level third event.
Best Times in Yards:
50 free – 20.48
100 free – 45.14
200 free – 1:43.24
But what Auburn needs as part of their rebuilding process under new head coach Ryan Wochomurka is sprinters, and Wochomurka knows that – he was on the team at Auburn in the 2000s, when they amassed one of the best sprint groups in NCAA history and rode it to a pile of national championships.
The Auburn 200 free relay, for example, was just 8th at SECs last season, which is a historic low for a program that has such a powerful sprint reputation.
If VanZandt continues to develop with year-round swimming, he could be an immediate impact on Auburn relays as a freshman (though his relay splits to date haven’t been as good as his flat-start times).
While Auburn is well into their class of 2023 recruiting, VanZandt helps wrap up a class of 2022 that is heavily focused on the sprints. That includes the Southeastern LSC Championships in the 100 meter free from over the summer Drew Jordan, and the Kentucky High School 3rd-place finisher in the 50 free Lucas Thomas. Adding some versatility to that group is versatile 200 yard+ guy Collin Klingman, middle-distance freestyler Josh Cobia, and butterflier Tate Cutler.
The group is deep, though it lacks a superstar, but for Auburn, starting to rebuild the depth, and developing athletes like VanZandt into NCAA qualifiers and scorers, is as important as recruiting superstars for the long-term health of the program.
VanZandt was named the Swimmer of the Meet at both the Texas District 9-5A Championship and the Texas Region 3-5A Championship.
His dad, also named Jon, was a Florida Marlins draft pick in 1993 and spent 1 season playing minor league baseball.
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