Olympic Gold Medalist Ahmed Hafnaoui Verbally Commits to Swim in NCAA at Indiana University
Six weeks after he won a shocking Olympic gold medal in the men’s 400 freestyle, Tunisia’s Ahmed Hafnaoui is taking his talents to college swimming. Hafnaoui, 18, hails from Tunis, and he will head to Bloomington in the fall of 2022 to compete for the Hoosiers.
Hafnaoui arrived in Tokyo, his first Olympics and first major international long course meet, as the 16th-seeded swimmer in the 400 free before dropping a few tenths from his best time to sneak into the final as the eighth seed. But in the final, Hafnaoui hung tough with Australia’s Jack McLoughlin, one the of the pre-meet favorites, and then stormed past him on the last 50 to claim gold. Hafnaoui crushed his lifetime best by more than two seconds and swam a 3:43.36, moving him into a tie for 14th-fastest all-time in the event.
Hafnaoui announced the news in an Instagram post. “I am happy to announce my commitment to Indiana University! I want to thank my family and coaches. I am very excited to swim in the NCAA! Go Hoosiers!” he said.
In addition to his 400 free skills, Hafnaoui ranks seventh in the world this year in the 800 free in 7:45.54, but he ended up finishing 10th in the event at the Olympics, swimming about four seconds off his best time following his emotional gold medal win. We will see how Hafnaoui’s skills can translate to the 25-yard pool, but his commitment is undoubtedly a huge get for Ray Looze and the Hoosiers.
Hafnaoui became just the second Tunisian man to win a medal or a gold medal in swimming following Ous Mellouli, who won gold in the 1500 free at the 2008 Olympics and then gold in the 10K and bronze in the 1500 free in 2012.