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Eli Westbrook of Lanett, Alabama has announced his decision to continue his athletic and academic career at Eastern Illinois University this upcoming fall. Westbrook currently attends Springwood High School, and swims under Tyler McGill at the Opelika Swim Team.
Westbrook is a dual-sport athlete who has balanced his time between swimming and playing basketball in high school. He told his local newspaper why he chose Eastern Illinois, saying: “My coach went there, and his brother coached there. They know the area pretty well, I talked to the coach a lot and we really connected. I feel like I’d be a great fit.”
Westbrook is primarily a backstroker. He recently capped off his short course season at the Southeastern Short Course Championships, where he set a slew of season best times. He finished as high as 12th in the 200 back, where he stopped the clock at 1:55.96 in finals. He also took 13th in the 100 back (52.69) and 20th in the 50 back (24.94).
His long course season last summer culminated at the NAC Southeastern Long Course Championship. He set a personal best time of 1:00.96 in the 100m backstroke, dropping nearly two seconds from his previous best. He also notched a personal best in the 50m back, swimming a 28.77 in prelims.
Top SCY Times:
50 back – 24.32
100 back – 52.11
200 back – 1:54.60
Eastern Illinois University is located in Charleston, Illinois. The Panthers compete in the Summit League, where the men finished 7th out of 8 teams at this year’s Summit League Championships. Westbrook is poised to make an immediate impact for Eastern Illinois at the conference level, as his best time in the 100 back would have scored this year.
Leading the backstroke squad this season was freshman Henry Belik, who finished 16th in both the 100 (51.71) and 200 (1:53.66). Freshman Andrew Herman took the top spot in the 100, as he finished 10th at conference in a best time of 49.52. Both Belik and Herman will overlap with Westbrook for three years, giving Eastern Illinois the opportunity to build depth in the backstroke events.
Joining Westbrook in the Panthers’ incoming class of 2027 is Landon Badstibner, Nolan Wallace, and Gabe Green. The class is extremely well-rounded in terms of event specialties, as Green focuses on fly events, Wallace is a breaststroker, and Badstibner does distance.
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