By Sharon Robb
FORT LAUDERDALE, October 12, 2021–Julia Podkoscielny, one of the nation’s most sought after high school swimmers, verbally committed to the University of Florida.
The Pine Crest junior, ranked among the top 10 in the nation, will join the Class of 2027 and is expected to make an immediate impact.
The 2000 U.S. Olympic trials qualifier will be coached by women’s head coach and 1988 Suriname Olympic gold medalist Anthony Nesty and train in the same pool as seven-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky, a UF volunteer swim coach training with Nesty for the July 26-August 11 2024 Paris Olympics.
“I am beyond excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my swimming and academic career at the University of Florida,” Podkoscielny announced on social media.
“Thank you to my coaches, friends and family who have been with me to this point. I can’t wait to be a Gator. I love the team, coaches and their philosophy. Can’t wait to be on campus and fully experience being a Gator.”
Podkoscielny, a two-time Swimmer of the Year, is a member of the girls’ two-time state 2A champion Pine Crest Panthers.
In 2020, she won 2A state and region titles in the 200-yard individual medley (1:59.14/1:59.00) and 100-yard backstroke (54.29/53.76). In October, she was named to the USA Swimming Scholastic All-American team.
In 2019, she won 2A state and region titles in the 200-yard individual medley (2:00.46/2:04.73) and 100-yard backstroke (54.76/56.16).
Podkoscielny is one of the county’s most versatile swimmers. She is ranked in six individual events, including four as No. 1, and two relays in the weekly Broward County Honor Roll.
She is a three-time champion at the USA Swimming Futures Championships in Greensboro. She won the 200-meter backstroke (2:15.07), 200-meter individual medley (2:18.24) and 400-meter individual medley (4:50.42) and was third in the 100-meter backstroke (1:03.46).
In 2018, she won six individual events and had two seconds in the 28th Speedo Winter Championships. She was a finalist in the 1A state championships and won a region title in the 100-yard backstroke as an eighth grader.
She broke some impressive Florida Gold Coast records in 2020. In the 400 individual medley she went 4:12.91 to break current UF swimmer and SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding’s 2016 record of 4:14.46. In the 200-yard backstroke she broke a 9-year-old record in 1:55.39, lowering St. Andrew’s alum Tasija Karosas’ previous mark by 0.94 seconds.
Fast swimming is in her DNA. Her father and Pine Crest head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny, is a two-time Olympian for Poland (1988 and 1992). At the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Podkoscielny finished fifth in both the 400-meter and 1500-meter freestyles. He set an Olympic Record during the prelims heats of the 400 free, but it was later broken in finals by East Germany’s Uwe Dassler. Her mother, Dagmara, is a former Polish national team member.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com