Anthony Nesty Adds Women’s Head Coach Duties To University Of Florida Resume

By Sharon Robb
GAINESVILLE, April 13, 2021–University of Florida women’s swimming and diving team has a familiar face as its new head coach.

Anthony Nesty, 53, after three successful seasons as the men’s swimming and diving head coach at Florida, Nesty will add women’s head coaching duties, Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin announced Tuesday.

Nesty replaces Jeff Poppell, women’s head coach from 2018-21, who left to coach South Carolina’s men’s and women’s programs.

The men’s program has won the Southeastern Conference championship all three seasons under Nesty and finished third at the 2021 NCAA Championships. With Nesty helping lead the way, the men’s team has won nine consecutive SEC titles.

Nesty will be coaching South Florida Aquatic Club’s Kathleen Golding and soon her sister Molly. SOFLO teammate Mallory Schleicher has also verbally committed to UF.

“I am honored and excited to be entrusted with the women’s swimming and diving program,” Nesty said. “The men’s and women’s teams have worked closely throughout my time at Florida, and I appreciate the opportunity to lead both programs. We will continue to hold ourselves to the highest standards and push ourselves to be excellent in everything we do.”

The women’s team finished second at the SEC Championships and 17th at NCAA Championships in 2021.

Nesty swam at Florida and was a gold medalist in the 100-meter butterfly at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1998 and UF Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.

Nesty has been on staff with the Florida swimming and diving program since joining as an assistant coach in 1999. He was promoted to associate head coach in 2006 and stepped in as men’s head coach in 2018 following Gregg Troy, who retired from collegiate coaching.

Florida was a combined program under Troy. Only Texas A&M and Tennessee now have men’s and women’s teams coached by different head coaches in the Southeastern Conference.

“Anthony has proven himself to be an elite head coach with his success, and I know he’ll bring the same passion and abilities to overseeing Florida women’s program as he has the men’s,” Stricklin said in a school news release.

“He has a long and proven track record of bringing out the best in Gator student-athletes and helping them reach their potential athletically, academically and as people. He is the right person to lead our women’s team and push them to achieve at the highest levels.”

Nesty, born in Trinidad & Tobago, remains a legendary national hero in Suriname, a former Dutch colony on the northeast coast of South America. He returned home after the Olympics to receive his nation’s highest honor, the Commander of the Yellow Star. The national indoor 50-meter swimming stadium and national DC-8 airplane were named after him. The Surinam government commemorated him on a stamp and on gold and silver coins.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

South Carolina Hires Jeff Poppell As Head Men’s, Women’s Swimming, Diving Coach

By Sharon Robb
COLUMBIA, S.C., April 11, 2021—After only three seasons, Jeff Poppell is leaving University of Florida for University of South Carolina.

Poppell was named University of South Carolina head men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach, pending approval of the Board of Trustees, Gamecock Athletics Director Ray Tanner announced on Friday.

Poppell was head women’s swimming and diving coach at University of Florida for the past three seasons, replacing Gregg Troy who retired from college coaching. Poppell coached several top UF swimmers including South Florida Aquatic Club’s Kathleen Golding.

“I am excited to welcome Jeff and his family to the University of South Carolina and our athletics program,” Tanner said in a statement. “Jeff brings an outstanding coaching resume and coaching philosophy that will greatly benefit our student-athletes. He knows what it takes to move our swimming and diving program to a championship level.”

Poppell replaces McGee Moody, who stepped down after 14 seasons with the Gamecocks.

Poppell has been coaching for 27 seasons including 13 seasons in the Southeastern Conference, 13 seasons at Bolles and four seasons at Gulliver Prep.

“I’m both honored and thrilled to have been named the new head swimming and diving coach at South Carolina,” Poppell said.

“On my visit earlier this week, I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the campus, the highly ranked academic programs offered, as well as the strong commitment made by the Gamecock athletic administration to help build and sustain a championship caliber program at the University of South Carolina.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us in the future however I can’t wait to get to Columbia, meet the teams, and begin this exciting new journey.”

South Carolina’s swim program is back on firm footing. In December, school president Robert Caslen had suggested that the school may have to cut some Olympic sports programs including swimming to save money during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Gamecocks are the only Division I swimming program in South Carolina after rival Clemson cut its swim teams after the 2012 season, and College of Charleston cut its program in 2015.

Poppell was also head women’s swimming and diving coach at Arkansas from 2006-12 as well as an associate head coach of the combined men’s and women’s program at Florida from 2016-18 and women’s head coach from 2018-21.

The Gators finished second in the SEC Championships in all three seasons of Poppell’s tenure at Florida and had an overall dual meet record of 18-3.

The Gators finished 17th at the 2021 NCAA Championships, the highest finish for the program since 2015. Florida had the most NCAA qualifiers of any team in the nation this season.

At Gulliver Prep, he guided the program to consecutive 2A FHSAA High School State Swimming Championship titles in girls swimming after winning the school’s first state championship in swimming in 2014. In 2015-2016, Poppell guided Gulliver Swim Club to its first Silver Medal Award, which recognizes the Top-100 swimming clubs in the United States.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Florida Tops North Florida, Now Ranked Seventh In Nation; SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding Takes Second

By Sharon Robb
GAINESVILLE, January 21, 2021–University of Florida women’s team, recently ranked seventh in the nation, defeated University of North Florida, 176-74, in a dual meet Wednesday at the O’Connell Center.

SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding was second in the 1,000-yard freestyle in 9:50.11. In an exhibition 400-yard individual medley, she finished in 4:12.43, that would have placed her second. The time was a “B” cut for NCAAs.

Florida won all 14 events and produced 22 B-cut times for the NCAA Championships and several new additions to the all-time top-10 lists at UF.

“Today was a big day for us,” UF women’s coach Jeff Poppell said. “It was an opportunity to honor our seniors at their last home competition as Gators, a season-ending competition for another group of athletes, and valuable opportunity to fine tune and prepare for the upcoming SEC Championships for several others.

Before the meet, 11 seniors on the women’s and men’s team were honored on Senior Day.

Taylor Ault, Bettina Boszormenyi, Adrianna DeBoer, Gabby Hillis, Ashley McCool, Nikki Miller, Liz Watts, Emma Whitner, Clark Beach, Ethan Beach and Marty Stange were recognized.

“I can’t express enough how proud I am of this team and specifically this group of seniors,” Poppell said. “Like so many others around the country, they have endured, sacrificed, and overcome so many obstacles over this past year and in doing so, they have represented the University of Florida in an outstanding manner. I will always remember this special group of student-athletes and be inspired by the unrelenting resiliency that they demonstrated day in and day out.”

B-Cut Swims:

Talia Bates (1:45.05), Tylor Mathieu (1:46.95) and Annette Schultz (147.00) in the 200-yard freestyle.

Katie Minnich (53.81) in the 100-yard backstroke.

Adrianna DeBoer (1:00.66) and Cecilia Porter (1:00.73) in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Amanda Ray (1:55.26), Nikki Miller (1:58.48) and Kenady Beil (1:58.5) in the 200-yard butterfly.

Katie Mack (22.34) in the 50-yard freestyle.

Katie Mack (49.0) in the 100-yard freestyle.

Rosie Zavaros (1:56.38) and Annette Schultz (1:56.49) in the 200-yard backstroke.

Adrianna DeBoer (2:13.9), Vanessa Pearl (2:09.45), Tylor Mathieu (2:12.53) and Cecilia Porter (2:12.61) in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Elise Bauer (4:45.47) and Taylor Ault (4:45.55) in the 500-yard freestyle.

Talia Bates (52.77) in the 100-yard butterfly.

Vanessa Pearl (4:12.2) and Kathleen Golding (4:12.43) in the 400-yard IM.B-Cut Performances

Talia Bates (1:45.05), Tylor Mathieu (1:46.95) and Annette Schultz (147.0) in the 200-yard freestyle.

Katie Minnich (53.81) in the 100-yard backstroke.

Adrianna DeBoer (1:00.66) and Cecilia Porter (1:00.73) in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Amanda Ray (1:55.26), Nikki Miller (1:58.48) and Kenady Beil (1:58.5) in the 200-yard butterfly.

Katie Mack (22.34) in the 50-yard freestyle.

Katie Mack (49.0) in the 100-yard freestyle.

Rosie Zavaros (1:56.38) and Annette Schultz (1:56.49) in the 200-yard backstroke.

Adrianna DeBoer (2:13.9), Vanessa Pearl (2:09.45), Tylor Mathieu (2:12.53) and Cecilia Porter (2:12.61) in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Elise Bauer (4:45.47) and Taylor Ault (4:45.55) in the 500-yard freestyle.

Talia Bates (52.77) in the 100-yard butterfly.

Vanessa Pearl (4:12.2) and Kathleen Golding (4:12.43) in the 400-yard IM.

The women’s and men’s team, travel to Alabama to take on Auburn.

Florida 176, North Florida 74

200-yard medley relay: 1. Florida B 1:38.30, 2. Florida A 1:39.59, 3. North Florida A 1:49.81.

1,000-yard freestyle: 1. Taylor Ault, UF 9:47.99, 2. Kathleen Golding, UF 9:50.11, 3. Allison Piccirillo UF 9:53.78.

200-yard freestyle: 1. Talia Bates, UF 1:45.05, 2. Tylor Mathieu, UF 1:46.95, 2. Annette Schultz, UF 1:47.00.

100-yard backstroke: 1. Katherine Minnich, UF 53.81, 2. Celismar Guzman, UF 54.03, 3. Lain Shahboz, UF 54.09.

100-yard breaststroke: 1. Adrianna Deboer, UF 1:00.66, 2. Cecilia Porter, UF 1:00.73, 3. Carlen Schwab, UF 1:05.24.

200-yard butterfly: 1. Amanda Ray, UF 1:55.26, 2. Nikki Miller, UF 1:58.48, 3. Kenady Beil, UF 1:58.50.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Katelyn Mack, UF 22.34, 2. Gabrielle Hillis, UF 22.80, 3. Kirschtine Balbuena, UF 22.83.

100-yard freestyle: 1. Katelyn Mack, UF 49.00, 2. Camryn Greenleaf, NF 52.44, 3. Sarah Shiers, NF 53.88.

200-yard backstroke: 1. Rosie Zavaros, UF 1:56.38, 2. Anne Fletcher, NF 2:05.35, 3. Taylor Warren, NF 2:10.02.

200-yard breaststroke: 1. Adrianna Deboer, UF 2:13.90, 2. Julianna Graf, NF 2:26.23, 3. Sarah Joram, NF 2:26.27.

500-yard freestyle: 1. Elise Bauer, UF 4:45.47, 2. Ryan Showfety, NF 5:09.87, 3. Brooke Engstrom, NF 5:26.94.

100-yard butterfly: 1. Talia Bates, UF 52.77, 2. Sydney Groth, NF 58.24, 3. Ashley Cozad, NF 58.27.

400-yard individual medley: 1. Vanessa Pearl, UF 4:12.20, 2. Makenzie Blaakman, NF 4:40.48, 3. Sarah Joram, NF 4:47.97, exhibition, Kathleen Golding, UF 4:12.43.

400-yard freestyle relay: 1. Florida A 3:16.46, 2. North Florida A 3:34.09, 3. Florida B 3:41.00.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK: Atkinson Among World Cup Field Racing For Prize Money; Florida Gators Open In South Florida; Poppell, Nesty Make College Head Coaching Debuts

By Sharon Robb

September 27, 2018—After missing the opening cluster, SOFLO’s four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson will join the 2018 FINA World Cup Series for its second cluster Friday through Sunday in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Both the men’s and women’s fields are larger than the small turnout in Kazan and Doha. The field features 185 swimmers from around the world.

Other swimmers expected to compete are Brazil’s Felipe Lima and Eteine Medeiros, Americans Michael Andrew, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia, Molly Hannis, Melanie Margalis and Kathleen Baker, Mitch Larkin, Mack Horton and Emily Seebohm of Australia, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, Yulia Efimova of Russia, Spain’s Mireia Belmonte, Japan’s Daiya Seto and South Africa’s Chad Le Clos.

Twelve events will be raced on each of the three days in Eindhoven.

Atkinson will be joined by women’s series leader Sarah Sjostrum of Sweden and men’s leader Anton Chupkov of Russia. Sjostrum earned the maximum points and earned the $50,000 Cluster One bonus after the first two stops of the short course meters series.


After intrasquad and alumni meets the past two weeks, the college dual meet season opens Thursday through Saturday across the nation including South Florida.

University of Florida men’s and women’s teams open their season Thursday at Florida Atlantic in the first meet of the season. The Gators women’s team head further south on Friday to swim University of Miami. The Gators then head to Florida Gulf Coast also on Saturday.

The women’s team begins its first season under head coach Jeff Poppell, former Gulliver Prep head coach and aquatics director. Poppell has been at Florida since 2016 serving as an associate head coach.

The Gators women’s team returns 27 letter winners including All-Americans Sherridon Dressel and Brooke Madden. The Gator men feature 14 freshmen. Anthony Nesty makes his debut as first-year head men’s coach. Nesty has spent the last 20 seasons with the Gators.

Florida International University women’s team heads to University of Miami on Saturday. Florida State is holding an intrasquad meet on Saturday in Tallahassee. Florida Atlantic will host Gardner-Webb and North Florida on Saturday.


Five-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin, 23, is engaged to fellow swimmer Hayes Johnson. Johnson proposed at Lake Lanier Islands Resort in Georgia. Johnson swam at University of Texas and was a member of the 2010 NCAA champion team. “Thank you for making this the easiest answer to any question I’ve ever been asked,” Franklin posted on Instagram.


South African Olympic medalist Cameron van der Burgh has relocated to London to train for his fifth FINA World Short Course Championship in Hangzhou, China, Dec. 11-16. Burgh said after 30 years in South Africa it was time to start a new journey. He will continue to compete internationally for South Africa…

American Heritage Plantation alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago was awarded the Hummingbird Silver Award from the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago at this year’s Republic Day National Awards Function. Carter was honored for bringing national attention to the tiny island and for putting aquatics at the forefront. Carter was a silver medalist at the Commonwealth Games and won three gold medals at CAC. He is the first and only swimmer to medal at both the Youth Olympic Games and FINA World Junior Swimming Championships…

The 2020 Olympic Trials date were officially set for June 21-28. The Trials will be hosted by Omaha, Nebraska for the fourth time. The 2020 Olympics will be held in Tokyo five weeks after the Trials. The Trials cuts were announced by USA Swimming during Thursday’s U.S. Aquatic Sports Convention in Jacksonville and they are all faster than the 2016 cuts. The men’s 800 and women’s 1500 freestyle events will make their debut at the 2020 Trials. The 2018 Winter National Championships in Greensboro, N.C. in late November will be the first meet where swimmers can get their Trials cuts.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 164: SOFLO’s Vlad Polyakov Named To Third Olympic Team

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 164: SOFLO’s Vlad Polyakov Named To Third Olympic Team


June 12, 2012

Vlad Polyakov of the South Florida Aquatic Club was selected to the Kazakhstan Olympic team for the 2012 London Olympics.

It will be Polyakov’s third Olympic team. He was also a member of the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing teams.

The St. Thomas Aquinas alum was selected for the 4×100-meter medley relay team along with teammates Aleksander Tarabrin (54.8), Fedor Shkilev (53.0) and Artur Dilman (48.8). The foursome qualified in 3:36.99 to tie Brazil for the 16th spot according to FINA.

The foursome qualified earlier this month during a meet in Kazakhstan where top Kazakhstan swimmers were pulled out of individual finals to go for the relay qualifying time.

Polyakov, 28, played a huge role with his split of 1:00.26 (out in 28.0 and back in 32.2). His best split ever in a relay is 59.5 at the 2009 World Championships.

Polyakov still hopes to swim the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke individual events in London and will compete this week in the June 14-17 Bahamas National Swimming Championships at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre in Nassau to try and swim the FINA qualifying standard. It is a certified FINA Olympic qualifying event.

SOFLO teammate Sharntelle McLean will also compete in the Bahamas meet to try and qualify for her third Olympics.

Polyakov will join SOFLO teammates Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and Arlene Semeco of Venezuela in London, also three-time Olympians.

SOFLO Ranked No. 1

South Florida Aquatic Club is currently ranked No. 1 in the Florida Gold Coast USA Swimming Virtual Club Championship Rankings for long course. SOFLO swimmers have 162,144 followed by Davie Nadadores, 160,149; Metro Aquatics, 132,121; Fort Lauderdale Aquatics, 117,104 and Lake Lytal Lightning, 104,959. The championships keep track of individual and relay performances for points to recognize the top swim clubs in the nation….SOFLO’s Xavier Brown signed with Daytona Beach State College and Marc Rojas signed with Indian River State College. They will be among seniors honored this week at a team dinner and ceremony at Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines.

Oen Death Ruled Hereditary Heart Disease

The Arizona medical examiner released the cause of death of Norway swimming great and national hero Alexander Dale Oen during a press conference on Tuesday.

The official cause of death was atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. The autopsy also found a blood clot in one of his arteries as the more specific cause.

Cardiologist Eivind Berge said in a statement that this type of coronary disease was highly unusual in a young person such as Oen. The only known risk factor for heart disease was familial.

The 2011 world champion in the 100 breaststroke died at age 26 while on a high altitude training trip in April in Flagstaff, Arizona. The initial autopsy was inconclusive.

Gulliver Prep Hires New Coach

Jeff Poppell was hired as the new aquatics director and head varsity swimming coach replacing James Sweeney. Poppell led the Arkansas Razorbacks’ women’s swimming and diving teams to national stature for the last six years. The team was ranked in the Top 25 for the last four seasons. The team was fifth at the SEC Championships, highest finish in the team’s history, and has 10 swimmers qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials. He was also the Team USA head women’s coach at the World Maccabiah Games. Before Arkansas, Poppell was head coach at Jacksonville Bolles for 13 years and was a state and national high school coach of the year. He was a former team captain for the Georgia swim team.


Olympic breaststroker Rebecca Soni completed her first solo ocean swim on Tuesday. “It was both totally calming and slightly terrifying,” she tweeted. Soni is an overwhelming favorite to make the U.S. Olympic team in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events. Her boyfriend, Ricky Berens, is also an Olympic favorite in the 100-meter freestyle.

Sharon Robb can be reached at