Photo by Michael Placenti ’19 – Jack Blake ’17 pulls ahead in 200m Freestyle at the home meet Sept. 10 2015. Blake will swim at Alabama for his college career.
By Andrew Howard ’17
In early November, before swim won their 29th straight state championship, captain Jack Blake ’17 committed to Alabama on a full athletic scholarship.
Head swim coach Mr. Pat O’Neill said Blake is one of the best swimmers to go through the Brophy program.
Mr. O’Neill also said Blake had a unique tie to the Alabama swim program.
“The head coach of Alabama used to be the head coach over at Phoenix Swim Club and his wife actually coached Jack when he was seven or eight,” he said.
Mr. O’Neill credited Blake’s work ethic for his success in high school.
“Jack is a student of swimming, he doesn’t just get in the pool and do what the coach says … he evaluates how he feels and how things affect him in the water,” he said.
Blake said the main reason that he chose Alabama over other schools on his list was because of their improvement over the last few years.
“Over the past four years they have gone from almost dead last to a top five team in the country,” he said.
Blake said academics also played a factor in his decision, noting that Alabama has the oldest engineering school in the country.
Swimmer and co-captain David Brown ’17 said that he knows Blake will be successful at Alabama.
“After the career he had here, I know he will be successful at ’Bama, he is a great swimmer and a better guy, roll tide” he said.
Blake said he is impressed by what the Alabama coaching staff has already accomplished.
“I talked to the sprint coach at Alabama, Jonty Skinner, and I think he is one of the best sprint coaches in the country,” Blake said. “He is very technical, he’s British, he’s a former record holder who is super science based in his coaching. He’s taken seconds off of kids’ times, which is pretty astronomical in swimming.”
Mr. O’Neill said that Blake broke one of the longest standing records in Brophy swim.
“He broke the most impressive record we have here, and that’s Gary Hall Jr.’s, he was a five time olympic gold medalist and has seven medals overall … Jack not only broke the record but destroyed it,” he said.
Last summer Blake swam in the U.S. Olympic trials for the 50-meter freestyle.
Blake had three final things to say about his commitment.
“I want to get smart, swim fast and most importantly, roll tide,” he said.