Distance Specialist Drew Clark Stays Local, Commits to Florida Gators

Sarasota YMCA Sharks distance ace Drew Clark has verbally committed to swim for the Florida Gators. The Riverview High School senior specializes in any freestyle event 500 yards and up in the small pool, and he earned a 3rd place finish in the 500 free at last season’s Florida 4A HS State Championships.

His best event is the mile, but he’s had impressive progressions in all of his best events over the last few seasons (see below). In addition to his success at the high school level, Clark recently put up a 10th place finish in the 800m free and a 5th place finish in the 1500m free at the 2015 U.S. Junior Nationals this summer. His 15:41.08 in the 1500 at that meet earned him an Olympic Trials cut.

2013 2014 2015
500 Free  4:30.43  4:27.52  4:24.69
1000 Free  9:33.80  9:12.92 9:00.14
1650 Free  15:29.04 15:10.39  15:07.83
200 Fly 1:54.66 1:51.79 1:49.88

The Gators have no shortage of 500 freestylers– they return five to their 2015-16 roster that were under 4:20.00 last year. Nonetheless, Clark looks to be improving with each season, and could very well be near or under that barrier before he lands in Gainesville. What’s most useful to head coach Gregg Troy will be his prowess in the mile, as his 15:07.83 would have been 5th on Florida’s top times list from last season. That time would have also placed 12th in a tough-as-nails SEC, making him the third-fastest Gator in the 1650 at those conference championships. Read below on what spurred Clark to commit to Florida:

I’m decided on UF because I really like the team and really love the coaches. Plus both my parents are alumni so I’ve really been a Gator my whole life.

Clark joins an extremely talented crew of 2016-17 Florida commits in World Junior Record holder Maxime Rooney, 2015 World Junior Championships finalist Chandler Bray, and in-state diver Alex Farrow.

If you have a commitment to report, please send an email to [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Notify of
1 Comment
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 years ago

Congrats Drew! It will be great to train with a large distance group such as Florida. Go in there and show them how tough a “Shark” can be! Good Luck!

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

Read More »