Former Gator Wins Swim For Alligator Lighthouse Open Water Swim


ISLAMORADA, September 14, 2022—Defending champion Connor Signorin topped a field of 450 swimmers from around the nation to capture his second consecutive Swim for Alligator Lighthouse, an 8-mile open-water swim held off the Florida Keys on Saturday.

Signorin, 30, of the Tampa Bay area and former University of Florida swimmer, finished the race in 3 hours, 7 minutes and 8 seconds. Last year he won in 3:05:37.

The five time All-American and the rest of the field swam to Alligator Reef Lighthouse off Islamorada, rounded the beacon, and swam back to the start and finish points at Amara Cay Resort.

Islamorada’s Corley Smith, 17, of Coral Shores High School and Florida Keys Swim Club, coached by two-time Olympian Jon Olsen, won the women’s race in 3 hours, 43 minutes and 13 seconds.

In other divisions, Greg Hodson and Joan Wheeler had the fast two-person relay time of 4:05:44.

Lynnette Hennessey and Kolby Minckler of Hilton Head, S.C. and Joe Green from Bluffton, S.C. won the three-person class in 4:08:13.

The winning four-person team was Marty Berman, Andrew Freeman, Keith Kessler and Michael Miller of Ponte Verde in 4:27:46.

The annual swim was created by Florida Keys artist “Lighthouse Larry” Herlth to raise awareness for the need to preserve the 150-year-old Alligator Reef Lighthouse and five other aging lighthouses off the Florida Keys.

The swim also raises money for college scholarships for Keys students interested in competitive swimming.

Alligator Reef Lighthouse is named after the USS Alligator, a U.S. Navy schooner that ran aground on the reef in 1822 and sank. Despite misconceptions, there are no alligators around the lighthouse since those reptiles primarily live in fresh water.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://swim4soflo.com

Florida Gators Announce 2022-23 Schedule; SOFLO Alum Kathleen Golding Named Team Captain


By Sharon Robb
GAINESVILLE, September 14, 2022—University of Florida will open its 2022-23 men’s and women’s schedule at home against Nova Southeastern and Arkansas on Sept. 23 at the O’Connell Center Natatorium.

The season-opener is one of four home meets. Arkansas has only a women’s team. NSU has both a men’s and women’s team.

After a month of training, the Gators head to Virginia to swim defending women’s national champion Cavaliers on Saturday, Oct. 22 in Charlottesville.

Florida will then swim conference opponents on back-to-back weeks, at Georgia in Athens, Ga. on Friday, Oct. 28 in its annual rivalry before returning to Gainesville to host Tennessee on Saturday, Nov. 5.

The Gators end the 2022 calendar year with three straight invitationals: Georgia Invite, Nov. 17-19, U.S. Open, Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in Greensboro, N.C. before diving ends 2022 at the Auburn Invitational, Dec. 16-20.

The 2023 part of the schedule opens at home Florida Atlantic University, Jan. 14, before hosting a diving invitational Jan. 20-21, while simultaneously swimming Florida State on Jan. 20 in Ocala, in its final dual meet. Two weeks later, the Gators will swim in the Feb. 3-5 Auburn Last Chance Invitational.

The Gators begin the post-season at the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships Feb. 14-16 in College Station, Tex. The men will go for their 11th straight conference titles, before the Bulldog Last Chance Meet from Feb. 24-25 in Athens. Qualified divers will compete at the NCAA Diving Zones from Mar. 5-8.

The season ends at the NCAA Swimming National Championships, with the women’s meet in Knoxville, Tenn., March 15-18 and men’s meet in Minneapolis, Minn., March 22-25.

One of the highlights of the season is South Florida Aquatic Club alum Kathleen Golding will serve as one of the Gators’ team captains for the 2022-23. The two-time U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier is a senior and three-time All-American. Her marquis events are the 200 and 400 IM though she swims several other events, both sprint and distance.

Golding’s younger sister, Molly, also a SOFLO alum, will begin her sophomore season in the IM and breaststroke events.

Other Gators with South Florida and Florida Gold Coast ties are sophomore Anna Auld of West Palm Beach, who is coming off an outstanding summer; and freshman Mallory Schleicher, another SOFLO alum.

Florida’s men’s and women’s head coach Anthony Nesty was recently named the 2022 American Swimming Coaches Association George Haines Coach of the Year at the ASCA World Clinic Sept. 8 in Las Vegas. Nesty joins former Florida coaches Gregg Troy and Randy Reese as the only coaches in Gators history to win the award.

The award is annually given to the individual whose coaching contributed the most towards American swimming excellence at the world level. Nesty was one of six finalists who coached athletes that won gold medals at the FINA World Championships last June in Budapest, Hungary.

Nesty coached multiple gold medalists in Budapest, including Caeleb Dressel, Bobby Finke, Kieran Smith and UF volunteer Coach Katie Ledecky. The four combined for eight gold medals, the most golds coached by any finalist for the award the year.

Six current Gators, four former Gators and volunteer coach Katie Ledecky were named to the 2022-23 U.S. National Team.

Anna Auld, Emma Weyant, Natalie Hinds, and Katie Ledecky were selected for the women’s team, and Brennan Gravley, Jacob Mitchell, Trey Freeman, Kevin Vargas, Caeleb Dressel, Bobby Finke, and Kieran Smith were named on the men’s roster. Florida has 11 athletes on the team, tied with Texas/Longhorn Aquatics for most-represented club/college. Auld and Gravley were both selected as open water athletes in May 2022, and are active through October 31, 2022.

2022-23 UF Men’s, Women’s Schedule
Sept. 23, Nova Southeastern, Arkansas, 10 a.m.
Oct. 22, at Virginia, 10 a.m.
Oct. 28, at Georgia, 10 a.m.
Nov. 5, Tennessee, 10 a.m.
Nov. 17-19, at Georgia Invite
Nov. 30-Dec. 3, U.S. Open, Greensboro, N.C.
Greensboro, NC
Dec. 16-20, Auburn Invitational, Diving
Jan. 14, Florida Atlantic, 2 p.m.
Jan. 20-21, UF Diving Invitational
Jan. 20, Florida State at Ocala, 2 p.m.
Feb. 3-5, Auburn Last Chance
Feb. 14-18, SEC Championships, College Station, Tex.
Feb. 24-25, Bulldogs Last Chance Meet, Athens, Ga.
Mar. 5-8, NCAA Diving Zones – TBD
Mar. 15-18, Women’s NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, Knoxville, Tenn.
Mar. 22-25, Men’s NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, Minneapolis

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com