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Summer Juniors qualifier Jarrett Payne has announced his verbal commitment to the University of Alabama. The Ohio native is slated to arrive on campus in fall 2024.
I am extremely excited to announce my future plans to continue my education and swimming at the University of Alabama. My love for swimming started with the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA and coaches Chad McClain and Mary Jannides. I am forever grateful to all of my teammates and coaches, past and present including my high school coach Brennan Brewer, and my SPY coaches Chris McKinney, John Bishop, Morgan Siefert and Mickey McNeil. They have all been instrumental in preparing me to go after my goals in the water. I would also like to thank the teachers and administration at Sidney High School for giving me the tools to excel in the classroom. A huge thank you goes out to the Alabama swim coaches for their belief in me and vision for what we can accomplish as a team. Coach Margo, Coach Ozzie, Coach Roman, Coach Reed, and Coach James, I can’t wait to get to Tuscaloosa to work with the amazing staff and team! Finally my biggest thanks goes to my family for their unwavering support and sacrifices along my swim journey. My mom, dad, sister Addison and brothers Jaxxson, Justiss and Josseph have all helped me get to this point. And I know they’ll be cheering right along with me, Roll Tide
Payne swims for Springfield Family YMCA (SPY) in Springfield, Ohio. In spring 2022, he finaled at YMCA nationals in four different events: the 100 free, 100 back, 100 fly, and 200 IM. At this summer’s Futures meet in Geneva, OH, he again reached the finals of four events.
Payne’s Best Times (SCY):
50 freestyle – 21.00
100 freestyle – 45.32
200 freestyle – 1:41.00
100 backstroke – 49.55
200 backstroke – 1:50.76
100 butterfly – 49.21
200 IM – 1:50.23
None of these times would crack Alabama’s 2021-22 season top times nor earn Payne a second swim at SECs, but as he’s a junior, he still has plenty of time to develop. As such, it’s difficult to project how Alabama will deploy him. Since he finaled at YMCA nationals in four different disciplines though, he could potentially be a versatile weapon for the Crimson Tide.
For Alabama head coach Margo Geer, recruiting the two-time USA Swimming scholastic All-American is a “small world” moment. Geer herself raced for SPY, and both she and Payne were coached by since retired John Bishop along with then age-group coach now head coach Mickey McNeil.
“[Coach Geer] has been someone I’ve looked up to because of her swimming success in the pool and as a coach,” said Payne. “To know that someone from my swim club has achieved the success I am seeking has always been a motivation of mine.”
Last year, Alabama tied for second at SECs with Tennessee. It was their highest finish since they won the conference title in 1987. There was a huge points gap between them and the winning Florida Gators at SECs, though. While Alabama has a class of 2023 coming in that’s deep with conference point scorers, the Gators have one of the best classes in the country loaded with freshman-NCAA-qualifying types. Second year head coach Margo Geer has done well continuing the success of the Crimson Tide, and her recruiting has improved, but the nation’s top recruits, the types that will close the gap on teams like Florida, still haven’t been committing to Alabama.
This year will be a crucial year, especially for a very young Alabama men’s team, to show development with a higher percentage of “Geer’s swimmers” to turn the tide on the team’s recruiting.
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