Former Ithaca swimmer Jack Wadsworth makes waves in first season with ASU

Arizona State swimmer Jack Wadsworth, a transfer from Ithica College, has found success in Tempe and has been a standout in backstroke competition. (Photo by Joe Robbins/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

TEMPE – Adjusting to new surroundings is difficult for anyone, and ASU swimmer Jack Wadsworth is no exception.

The reigning 2022 Division III men’s swimming and diving national champion in the 100-yard backstroke transferred from Ithaca College to Arizona State in the offseason and has found a home on the Sun Devils men’s swimming and diving team.

Wadsworth left Ithaca with the program, Liberty League and NCAA Division III records in the event (46.45 seconds) while becoming the Bombers’ first national champion since 1996.

But the transition to the West Coast wasn’t as smooth and fast as his backstroke. Moving cross-country meant acclimating to a new campus, new teammates and a new time zone.

One of the top backstrokers on the team, Jack Wadsworth has eight top-five finishes in multiple events during the 2022-23 ASU men's swimming and diving season. (Photo courtesy of Sun Devil Athletics)

One of the top backstrokers on the team, Jack Wadsworth has eight top-five finishes in multiple events during the 2022-23 ASU men’s swimming and diving season. (Photo courtesy of Sun Devil Athletics)

“I think probably just the schedule was probably the hardest thing with just trying to balance waking up for morning practice, going to class, going to afternoon practice, doing homework and eating was pretty difficult,” Wadsworth said.

Despite the challenges, Wadsworth has made an instant impact on the team by working hard to improve every aspect of his swimming technique. Among his 2022-23 season highlights, Wadsworth finished in third place in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke in the Pac-12 opener against USC on Nov. 4 and placed second in the 200-yard backstroke at the N.C. State Invite two weeks later. In total, he has eight top five finishes in eight meets.

Perhaps most importantly, however, his work ethic and approach have stood out among his teammates. After two months off, the Sun Devils will resume competition on Jan. 20 against Stanford at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center.

“There was a lot definitely, but I think the biggest thing was his charisma and energy for every practice,” said fifth-year senior Grant House.

In the beginning, as he began to train with the team, Wadsworth saw a steady improvement in his competition times. Sure, there was stiffer competition at ASU, but he continued to develop his skills and saw impressive results.

“I mean just in my times with three months of training here I have already dropped over two and a half (seconds) in my 200(-yard) back,” Wadsworth said.

No wonder. Between his coaches and teammates, the Windsor, Vermont,native has a quality support system pushing him to be his best and adjust to the new environment in his first season with the team

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“To get better, to do good and do well in school,” ASU swimming coach Bob Bowman said of his goals for Wadsworth. “And to constantly come in here and try to improve what he had done before to really help us at the Division I level.”

His teammates have always picked him up in any way needed, not only during swim practice and meets, but outside of the pool.

“I was more than willing to help with just kind of being there for him as a friend like we are for a lot of the guys on the team,” House said.

The extra team bonding will hopefully translate to the season when ASU resumes competition on Jan. 20 against Stanford and Jan. 21 against Californa.

A little more than two weeks away from returning to the water, Wadsworth has continued to build during winter training in efforts to help the Sun Devils reach their goals.

“The things that I’m looking forward to is just getting better, training harder and getting closer with my buddies,” Wadsworth said.

Dominic Hernandez(he/him/his)
Sports Broadcast Producer, Phoenix

Dominic Hernandez expects to graduate in May 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism.