Gators Finalize 2016 Signing Class with Addition of 14 Newcomers

Gainesville, Fla. — The University of Florida swimming and diving program rounded out the 2016 signing class with the addition of 14 newcomers, UF Head Coach Gregg Troy Announced on Tuesday.

After seeking out the country’s top talent from coast to coast, the Florida coaching staff went overseas to conclude the 2016 roster. The final product will feature 27 newcomers.

“We’re very excited about this group of 2016 signees,” said UF head coach Gregg Troy. “This group brings a great deal of talent and character to the program. Not only in the pool, but in the classroom as well. We’re looking forward to the immediate impact we expect this class to bring come 2016.

“Overall we’re really excited about this incoming men’s class. It’s an extremely talented group with a good mixture from all over the country. We addressed some weakness and improved in depth in some areas. There are a lot of guys that could walk in and make an impact.
“On the women’s side, we brought in an intentionally large women’s class. We felt depth has been an issue in the past couple years so we recruited very strongly within the state and not just fill certain roles, but also give us depth throughout the entire team. This class is tremendously versatile with very high-profile athletes and will definitely fill in the weaknesses and problems we’ve had over the past few years.”   

Meet the Gators

Group 1: Florida Swimming and Diving Inks 7 to National Letters of Intent (Previously Announced on Nov. 13)
Group 2: Florida Adds 6 Newcomers to 2016 Signing Class (Previously Announced on Nov. 17)

Maxime Rooney
Livermore, California | Free/Fly | HS/Club:
According to college swimming.com, Rooney is considered to be the top recruit out of the state of California and the second ranked prospect nationally among the 2016 signing class. At the 2015 Phillips 66 National Championships, Rooney took first in the 200-meter freestyle and 10th in the 100-meter freestyle. Additionally, Livermore, California, native gathered top placings at the 2015 Speedo Junior National Championships in the 200-meter freestyle and 100-meter freestyle. Still a prep, he brings impressive times to the collegiate level throughout the 50 freestyle-L (22.99), 50 freestyle-Y (20.19), 100 freestyle-L (49.35), 200 freestyle-Y (1:34.57), and 500 freestyle-Y (4:20.60).

Coach Troy on Rooney:
“Maxime is one of the top recruits in the country. He’s got the potential to come into this program and have an immediate impact. He’s got a tremendous skillset and fantastic tools. While he’s predominately been a freestyler, he can swim a lot of events — a lot like Caeleb Dressel. A guy like this who we can build around is really going to help us.”

Rooney on Florida:
“Florida offers the swimming and education programs I have been looking for and a community where I see myself thriving.”

Dakota Mahaffey
Jacksonville, Florida | backstroke | Club: Bolles School Sharks
According to collegeswimming.com, Mahaffey is the 18th-ranked recruit from within the state of Florida. Abackstroker, Mahaffey brings depth to the Florida program. At the 2015 Speedo Junior National Championships, the Jacksonville, Florida, native posted a third-place finish in the 100 backstroke-L, touching out with a time of 58.23. Mahaffey also registered impressive finishes at the 2015 Southern Zone Championships — swimming to a runner-up finish in the 50 backstroke-L (27.14) and 100 backstroke-L (58.27). At the 2015 2A State Championships, Mahaffey gathered a state title in the 100 backstroke-Y (48.82) and finished fourth in the 200 IM-Y (1:52.04). 

Coach Troy on Mahaffey:

“Dakota offers us some backstroke depth. He’s a very versatile guy, he swims everything. He’s got good speed in the backstroke in particular. He comes from the same high school as Caeleb Dressel. He very much the same dynamic.”

Chandler Bray
Avon, Indiana | Breaststroke | High School: Avon
According to collegeswimming.com, Bray ranks as the number one recruit to come out of Indiana and the 55th-ranked recruit among the 2016 signing class. As a prep, Bray was a two-time finalist at the 2015 Indiana Boys State Championships, placing second in the 100 breaststroke-Y (54.45) and a fourth-place finisher in the 200 IM-Y (1:49.34). On the national stage, Bray finished 14th in the 200 breaststroke-L (2:14.17) and 17th in the 100 breaststroke-L (1:01.79) at the 2015 Phillips 66 National Championships.  

Coach Troy on Bray:
“Chandler is one of the three best breaststrokers in the class. He adds depth to the breaststroke for us — a place where we’re looking to add to. Alongside Marco Guarante, these two give us two quality breaststrokers and two guys coming in where their best strokes are the breaststroke. They’ve got a lot of speed and we’re excited to welcome them in.”

Bray on Florida:
“The University of Florida will help me in every way possible to succeed in the classroom, pool, and life after college. The team culture astounded me and was one of the driving factors in my decision. With an incredible coaching staff and a great group of guys, the possibilities in the pool are seemingly endless.”

Viktor Toth
Port Orange, Florida | Free | High School: Spruce Creek
Toth joins the Florida program as the 16th-ranked recruit in the state of Florida, according to collegeswimming.com. A 2015 finalist at the Speedo Champions Series, Toth finished fourth overall in the 50 freestyle-L, touching out with a time of 23.67. He was a three-time finalist at the Florida State 4A State Championships, finishing third in the 2014 100 freestyle-Y (45.80), fourth in the 2015 200 freestyle-Y (1:40.63) and second in the 100 freestyle-Y (44.64).

Coach Troy on Toth:
“Viktor is one of the best sprinters in the state. We’ve had a lot of kids come from the direction of Steve Lochteand we’re very excited about the addition he will bring to the program.”

Toth on Florida: 
“I instantly fell in love with the school and program and I am very excited to be a Gator.”

Dylan Power
Tampa Bay, Florida | Diver | Club: West Florida Lightning 
Dylan Power joins the Florida program as an accomplished diver at both the high school and national level. As a prep, Powers dove to a runner-up finish at the 2015 4A Florida State Championships off the one-meter, posting a score of 510.85 — a step up from his seventh-place finish on 2014 (399.95). At the national level, the Tampa Bay native registered two Top-25 finish at the 2015 USA Diving AT&T National Diving Championships off the platform (21st, 360.95).

Coach Schultz on Power:
We’re very excited about the addition of Dylan Power. He brings a skillset to our diving program which will allow him to be successful and there’s unlimited potential for what he can accomplish here over the next four years.

Emma Ball
Guelph, Ontario, Canada | Butterfly/Back | Club: Guelph Marlins Aquatic
Ball joins the Florida program as an accomplished swimmer from overseas. At the 2014 Speedo Champion Series, Ball gathered a fourth-place finish in the 100 backstroke-L (1:06.31).  In addition, the Guelph, Ontario, native also finished 13th in the 100 butterfly-L (1:05.46), 14th in the 50 free-L (27.88), and 15th in the 200 backstroke-L (2:32.03).

Coach Troy on Ball:
“Emma Ball is a quality sprint-oriented athlete. Both sprint butterfly and sprint backstroke. She comes to us from Canada and she’s one of their best young junior swimmers. We feel really comfortable that she’s going to come in and add to what we can do right away.”

Kelsey Dambacher
Chesterfield, Virginia | Quest Swimming | Club: Quest Swimming
According to collegeswimming.com, Dambacher is the 10th-ranked swimmer to come out of the state of Virginia this year. This year at the 2015 Futures Championships, Dambacher gathered a first-place finish in the 50 freestyle-L (27.03), a fifth-place finish in the 100 freestyle-L (58.36), while placing eighth in the 200 freestyle-L, touching out with a time of 2:06.18. In addition, Dambacher was a 2014 Junior National Champion in the 100 freestyle-L, after clocking a time of 50.96.  

Coach Troy on Dambacher: 
“Kelsey is a very good middle distance swimmer and sprint freestyler. She covers everything from 50 through the 200 length races. We had a need for sprinters with some of our graduating class leaving us next spring, so adding sprinting depth was a concern we wanted to address.” 

Victoria Bindi
Gulf Breeze, Florida | Free | Club: Sailfish Swimming
According to collegeswimming.com, Bindi ranks 10th among the 2016 signing class. A four-time state champion from the state of Florida, Victoria specializes in freestyle sprints. Bindi owns a four individual state titles — two a piece in the 100 freestyle-Y (50.29, 50.89) and in the 50 freestyle-Y (23.24, 23.49).

Coach Troy on Bindi:
“Victoria joins the program from the Pensacola area. She was a four-time state champion and she knows how to get her hand on the wall. She’s a great racer and from a speed aspect she’ll be a great asset to what we’re looking for in the near future.”


Bindi on Florida:
“The Florida athletic program’s importance on academics is what stood out to me. I eventually want to go on to bigger things in life on the academic side so academics were important to me.”

Nicole Urquidi
Coral Gables, Florida | Freestyle | Club: Gulliver
Urquidi is listed as the number four recruit out of the state of Florida according to collegeswimming.com. A four-time finalist at the 2A Florida State Championships, Urquidi swam to a runner up finish in 2014, competing in the 200 freestyle-Y (1:50.99) along with a fourth-place showing in the 500 freestyle-Y (5:02.58). om 2015, Urquidi swam to a third-place finish in the 200 freestyle-Y, clocking a time of 1:49.94. The Coral Gables, Florida, native also registered a fourth-place finish in the 500 freestyle-Y (4:56.12).

Coach Troy on Urquidi:
“Nicole is a middle distance freestyle swimmer who can go the whole way, even up to the mile. She swam on her high school sprint freestyle relay. She’s very versatile and has a tremendous work ethic and attitude.”

Kelly Fertel
Miami, Florida | Breast/IM | High School: Gulliver Prep
According to collegeswimming.com, Fertel is the sixth-ranked recruit in the state of Florida and 104th-ranked recruit among the 2016 signing class. A three-time finalist at the 2014 Speedo Champions Series, Fertel gathered a trio of top-6 finishes — coming in third in the 200 breaststroke-L (2:38.29), fifth in the 100 breaststroke-L (1:13.98), and sixth in the 200 IM-L (2:22.98). In addition to her national success, the Miami, Florida, native also brought home a 2A individual state championship title in the 200 IM-Y after clocking a time of 2:03.54.

Coach Troy on Fertel:
“Kelly is a medley swimmer who swims a very good breaststroke and IM. Her addition will add to our depth in the medleys immediately. She swims everything well in all reality, and was a member of the junior national team.”

Fertel on Florida:
“I got the wow factor at Florida. Not just from the school, but from the swim program as well. Obviously, growing up, I knew how successful Gregg Troy has been, especially in the individual medleys. When it came down to considering just swimming and academics, Florida was an easy choice.”

Madison Conway
Tampa Florida | Breast/Fly | High School: Wiregrass Ranch
According to collegeswimming.com, Conway joins the Florida program as the 33rd-ranked recruit in the state of Florida. At the 2015 Florida State Championships, Conway gathered a pair of top-7 finishes in the 100 backstroke-Y (2nd, 56.67) and 100 butterfly (7th, 58.58). In addition to her success as a prep, Conway brought home a pair of first-place finishes at the 2015 Summer Senior Championships in both the 200 backstroke-L (2:22.63) and 100 backstroke-L (1:05.10). 

Coach Troy on Conway:
“Madison can fill some needs for us in the future. She’s a good backstroke and butterfly swimmer from the state of Florida and has a tremendous upside.”

Danielle Keymont
Merritt Island, Florida | Freestyle/breast | High School: Merritt Island
Danielle Keymont will come to Gainesville as the No. 7 recruit out of Florida’s 2016 class, according to collegeswimming.com. A 2015 2A Florida State Champion in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.18), Keymont also gathered a fourth-place showing in the 200 IM-Y (2:08.98). In addition to her success at the high school level, Keymont also swam to first-place finishes at the 2015 Florida Senior Championships in the 50 breaststroke-L (32.98) and 100 breaststroke-Y (1:01.66), 50 breaststroke-Y (29.06) and 200 breaststroke-Y (2:16.58).

Coach Troy on Keymont:
“Danielle is one of the best breaststrokers in the state of Florida. We’re very lucky to have been able to open up a line of conversation with her once we heard she wanted to be a Gator. She really fills a need for us because she’s a sprint breaststroker.”

Georgia Darwent
Newcastle, Great Britain | Freestyle | Club: Newcastle
Georgia Darwent joins the Orange and Blue from overseas as an accomplished swimmer for the Newcastle Swim Team. Through international competition, Darwent clocks remarkable long-course times in the 100 freestyle (59.79), 200 freestyle (2:05.92), 400 freestyle (4:15.07), 800 freestyle (8:45.85), 200 backstroke (2:!5.52), and 400 IM (5:07.48).  

Coach Troy on Darwent:

“Georgia is a very accomplished distance freestyle swimmer and she’ll add to our distance freestyle group. Her addition will give us a great deal of depth next year that we haven’t been able to take advantage of this year.”

Sherridon Dressel
Green Cove Springs, Florida | Back/Free/Fly | Club: Bolles School Sharks
Sherridon Dressel is the younger sister of current Gator sophomore, Caeleb Dressel. According to collegeswimming.com, Sherridon ranks 17th among high school recruits in the state of Florida. A two-time 2015 2A Florida State Champion, Dressel gathered two state titles in the 100 backstroke-Y (54.63) and 100 butterfly-Y (54.56). In 2014, Dressel was also a finalist in the 2A state finals, swimming to a runner-up finish in the 100 backstroke-Y (56.05), 100 freestyle-Y (51.27).

Coach Troy on Dressel:
“Sherridon has a real big upside with a lot of untapped potential. She’s extremely versatile. I don’t think we’ve seen everything that she’s even capable of yet. She’s swims a lot of events and competes extremely well and has been a tremendous relay swimmer. She’ll add a missing element that will leave as Natalie hinds departs next year.”

Swimming news courtesy of Florida Swimming & Diving.

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Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She is now coaching for Loggerhead Aquatics in her hometown …

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