Futures Champion William Wheeler (2023) signs to Notre Dame

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William Wheeler, a breaststroke specialist from Fayetteville, Arkansas, has signed to swim and study at the University of Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2023. Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas — which has no men’s swimming and diving team. With no in-state Division I options for men’s swimming, Wheeler is a “free agent” of sorts.

“I am beyond excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Notre Dame!! I would like to thank my family, friends, and coaches for bearing with me and constantly encouraging me throughout my swim career. A true display of God’s grace in my life. GO IRISH!!

Wheeler is a senior at Haas Hall Academy in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and swims year-round for the Razorback Aquatic Club Aquahogs. Wheeler is primarily a breaststroker, with his best events being the 100/200-yard breaststroke. 

At the 2022 Winter Junior National Championships, he hit a best time in the prelims of the 100-yard breaststroke (55.43), and only added .03 in finals to touch 23rd. A week later at the King Marlin Pro-Am Classic, Wheeler touched 5th in the 200-yard breaststroke with a 2:03.84 to improve upon his previous best time of 2:04.24 from March 2022. 

Arguably, Wheeler is an even better long-course swimmer. This past summer he was the 2022 Minneapolis Futures Champion in the 200-meter breaststroke with a Summer Junior Nationals qualifying time of 2:21.91. He was also runner-up in the 100-meter breaststroke with another Summer Junior Nationals qualifying time of 1:04.60. 

Best Times SCY:

100 breast — 55.43
200 breast — 2:03.84
100 free — 47.13
200 free — 1:45.09

Overall, Notre Dame has a good mix of new blood and veterans within their breaststroke group. Wheeler will be coming in as the 4th best 100-yard breaststroker and the 5th fastest 200-yard breaststroker, with junior Tyler Christianson being the Fighting Irish’s top performer in both events (53.39/1:52.9). Notre Dame also has freshman breaststroke addition Ryan Malicki (53.45/1:59.03) who stands to make finals at ACC Conference Championships. With his current times, Wheeler would have been just outside of scoring range at 2022 ACC Championships, placing 30th in the 100-yard breaststroke and 36th in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Wheeler joins fellow breaststroker Arie Ioselevich and backstroker/freestyler Caden Francois for the Fighting Irish class of 2027. This is the first recruited class by Notre Dame’s new coaching staff, led by head coach Chris Lindauer.

The new coaching staff also includes Trevor Carroll, who used to coach Pitt’s breaststrokers, incidentally the team’s highest-performing group in the last couple of years. Adding Wheeler and Ioselovich as freshman breaststrokers set the tone for the development of the breaststroke group under this new coaching leadership.

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