Competitor Coach of the Month: Anthony Nesty, Florida

Competitor Coach of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based coach who has risen above the competition. As with any item of recognition, Competitor Coach of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one coach whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a coach who was clearly in the limelight, or one whose work fell through the cracks a bit more among other stories. If your favorite coach wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.

In the month of February, two different Florida Gator men shattered American and NCAA records in the 500 free and 1650 free – giving University of Florida swimmers ownership of four out of five national men’s freestyle records in short course yards.

Coach Anthony Nesty led the Florida men to an 8th consecutive SEC title, a streak that reaches back to when Nesty was an assistant under the retired Gregg Troy. Nesty’s accomplishments the past two years have been particularly impressive, given how much elite talent has escaped the Florida roster, whether through graduation (Caeleb Dressel, Jan Switkowski, Mark Szaranek) or transfer (Maxime Rooney, Kacper Stokowski, Erge Gezmis) or medical issues (Trey Freeman, Michael Taylor).

Most notably, Florida sophomore Bobby Finke shattered the American and NCAA records in the 1650, going an absurd 14:12.08. Meanwhile fellow sophomore Kieran Smith smashed American and NCAA records in the 500 free in 4:06.32. He also hit a nation-leading 1:30.11 in the 200 free.

When you add in Dressel’s 50 free and 100 free, Florida now owns American and NCAA records in 4 of 5 individual freestyle events.

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GA Boy
1 year ago

I think they train hard.

Bearly Breathing
1 year ago

*4 of 5 individual freestyle events.

Sorry. It’s the anal copy editor in me.

Bearly Breathing
Reply to  Bearly Breathing
1 year ago

Also, congratulations to Coach Nesty. I remember watching your race in 1988.

Reply to  Bearly Breathing
1 year ago

I’m Australian . We would say 4 out of 5

1 year ago

Easy choice, well deserved!

1 year ago

You da man Nesty! (In my best Nesty voice)

1 year ago

Congratulations coach Nesty!

1 year ago

Well done Anthony!

1 year ago

It would be interesting to compile a list of Olympic Gold Medalists who have become winning collegiate coaches in the US. I don’t think that list is very long. Anthony was a class act as a young man, not surprising to see him weather some early storms and come out winning at Florida. Well done Champ.

Reply to  Bevo
1 year ago

I did a quick thought experiment when someone brought it up the other day, scrolling through the list of gold medalists, and couldn’t find one.

In fact, it’s interesting – most of the Olympic gold medalists went on to success in *something beyond swimming.* Very few became swim coaches at all, at least far fewer than I would have expected. Jager and Biondi are exceptions. Berkoff too, though he had a ‘day job’ as an attorney.

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Don’t forget Pablo Morales!

Reply to  Springbrook
1 year ago

Yep another good one!

Joe Goeken
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Matt Vogel

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

The only other one I can think of off hand that had real success is Karen Moe Thornton, who was the head women’s coach at Cal from 1978 to 1992. She was the Olympic gold medalist and world record holder in the 200 fly in 1972 and was NCAA Women’s Coach of the Year in 1987. They finished in the top 5 at NCAAs seven times during her tenure, and she had swimmers like Mary T Meagher on her roster.

Jill Sterkel put a couple of girls on the Olympic team during her time as the head women’s coach at Texas. Whitney Hedgepeth in 1996 (silver in the 200 back) and Erin Phenix in 2000 (gold for the 4×100… Read more »

Reply to  Aquajosh
1 year ago

You could say Courtney Shealy Hart (Gold Medalist on the 800 Free Relay) but certainly not an elite winning coach.

Georgia Tech has been below average since she took over.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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