June 26, 2013
The men's swimming program and head coach Matt Kredich picked up a major addition to the incoming freshman class with the signing of top Australian freestyle sprinter Luke Percy.
Percy joins a signing class that includes talented distance freestylers Evan Pinion of Knoxville and David Heron of California.
Percy turned in serval top times of his career in April at the Australian Age Championships and the EnergyAustralia Swimming Championships. He recorded a time of 22.24 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle and 49.63 in the 100 freestyle later in the month. He also posted a winning performance in the 50 freestyle in January's Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
If converted to yards, his times would have placed him in the top eight at this season's NCAA Championships in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events.
Historically, the Vols has been the home of many world class freestylers. the teams have won seven NCAA titles in both the 50 and 100 freestyle events.
Percy trained with the Southport Olympic Swimming Club, one of the high performance clubs in Australia. He told swimming media outlets Swimming World Magazine and SwimSwam that one of the reasons he signed with the Vols instead of turning professional is that he loves the team training environment. He feels the team focus will help accelerate his development in addition to Tennessee's coaching.
The Queenslander joins several top Australian student-athletes currently at Tennessee. Freshman Oliver Goss of the men's golf team earned All-America honors this season, and junior Jarryd Chaplin of the men's tennis team was an All-SEC recipient. Aussie tennis star John-Patrick Smith was voted the SEC Athlete of the Year when he graduated in 2011.
The Vols placed 16th in the team standings at the 2013 NCAA Championships in March, but the squad shows all signs of improvement heading into 2013-14 with the addition of Percy, Pinion and Heron. Tennessee should also receive a boost in postseason points from diver Mauricio Robles, the 2012 SEC platform champion who missed last season with injury.