UF returns to the pool this fall equipped with 11 US National Team members, gifted transfers and the 2022 Haines Coach of the year, Anthony Nesty.
The Gators set high expectations for this season as one of the most represented universities on the 2022-2023 US National Team. These athletes proved their eligibility to swim with the United States in international competitions by scoring a top-six time in any individual Olympic event of a US-sanctioned event, a Federation Internationale de Natation approved competition or an international competition.
Anna Auld, Emma Weyant, Natalie Hinds and Katie Ledecky were selected as women’s delegates. Brennan Gravley, Jake Mitchell, Trey Freeman, Kevin Vargas, Caleb Dressel, Bobby Finke and Kieran Smith were the men’s delegates.
August was a significant recruiting period for Gators swim and dive. First came Emma Weyant, a transfer from Virginia with solid accolades. Weyant swam a 4:32.76 400 IM at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, earning a silver medal as her first Olympic achievement.
Following Weyant, Canadian Olympian Joshua Liendo joins the Gators as a record holder in the 50 free (20.76), 50 fly (22.52), and 100 fly (50.00). Liendo comes to Gainesville at 19 years old with four years of eligibility, an athlete destined for prosperity in Florida.
Another August transfer, Caroline Pennington, comes to UF from Southern California as the 2022 Pac-12 champion in the 1650 free. Pennington not only earned a personal best of 15:48.69; she became the first Trojan to win this event in almost six years.
Last June, the FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, resulted in eight gold medals from UF swimmers: Dressel, Finke, Smith and Ledecky. The throughline of these athletes’ greatness is Nesty.
Nesty, who is Florida’s head coach, joins his athletes in recent accomplishments with the American Swimming Coaches Association 2022 George Haines Coach of the Year award. He is now one of only three UF coaches to receive this title, joining Gregg Troy and Randy Reese. The title represents the individual whose coaching has contributed the most towards American swimming at the World level, proving Nesty’s elite ability.
Florida begins its season Friday against Nova Southeastern and Arkansas at the Ann Marie Rogers Swimming and Diving Pool at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium.
Contact Kate Wiggins @[email protected] Follow her on Twitter @kateviggins.
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Kate Wiggins is a second-year advertising major and the swim and dive reporter for The Alligator. When she’s not reporting, you can find her crafting niche Spotify playlists for every mood in her free time.