Neil is an alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a 25-time All-American and two-time NCAA individual champion. Walker began his career in Verona, Wisconsin, where he was born and raised. Swimming with the Verona Aquatic Club, under coach Randy Trowbridge, Walker set state records that still remain unbroken. Although recruited by several schools, including Florida, University of Southern California, Auburn, and Arizona, he decided to make his mark under head coach Eddie Reese at Texas.
Neil finished his collegiate career as one of the most decorated athletes in Texas history, and as one of the best Longhorn swimmers ever. In addition to his 25 All-American awards, he won two back-to-back NCAA individual titles in the 100yd backstroke, and six individual Big XII titles. In 1997, he set an American, US Open, and NCAA record in the 100yd back, with a time of 44.92, still third fastest all-time. He also set the NCAA record in the 50yd free with a time of 19.08. His accomplishments, which were shortened by a broken hand he received the second day of the meet, earned him the NCAA Swimmer of the Year award for 1997. Since finishing college, he has gone on to swim in numerous international meets, including several World Championships, Pan Pacific Championships, and the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, where he won two gold medals, one silver medal, and one bronze medal. Considered one of the most versatile swimmers, Walker has held World and/or American records in every stroke (breaststroke through an Individual Medley record)!