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 email@example.com