SwimAtlanta’s Taylor Delk along with Azura Aquatics’ Marco Guarente have both committed to swim for the University of Florida’s class of 2020, adding serious depth to a fast-growing recruiting class for the Gators.
Delk, who attends Collins Hill High School in Georgia, excels in distance free as well as backstroke, and should make a good training partner for fellow incoming freshman Drew Clark, who committed to the Gators just a couple days ago and also excels in distance free.
Delk’s best times (SCY/LCM):
- 400/500 free – 4:28.85/4:05.45
- 1500/1650 free- 15:28.54/16:10.57
- 100 back – 49.27/56.92
- 200 back – 1:46.40/2:02.53
Since 2013, Delk has gotten down from 4:41 in the 500 free, 52.37 in the 100 back, and 1:52.60 in the 200 back. Since last year, he also dropped 10 seconds and some change off of his 1650 free time.
The high school senior really turned things up this summer in backstroke, garnering Olympic Trials cuts in both the 100 and 200 meter backstroke races after he placed 6th in the 200 and 8th in the 100 at the 2015 U.S. Junior Nationals.
Delk isn’t quite ready to contribute big-time for the Gators– though he would have scored minor points in the mile and nearly made the 200 back C final with his current personal bests. Looking ahead, he will certainly add depth to the Florida distance and backstroke groups, and he’s been improving at such a rapid rate that he might be ready to score in a bigger manner when he gets to Gainesville next year.
Marco Guarente, meanwhile, is a great breaststroker who can extend through the 200 distance. He swims with Azura Aquatics and attends Cypress Bay High School.
Guarente’s best times in SCY/LCM:
- 100 breast – 55.54/1:04.25
- 200 breast – 2:01.41/2:17.05
Guarente’s long course bests were done at the 2015 Junior Nationals, where he placed 20th in the 100 and rocketed to 3rd in the 200, nabbing an Olympic Trials in the latter race. While his SCY bests were done in 2014, his stellar summer of 2015 suggests that he has more to go in the small pool. He’s going to be expected to pull some weight the minute he gets to the University of Florida, who will be in high demand of breaststrokers.
The breaststroke situation in Gainesville is actually slightly concerning– their top returning 100 breaststroker this season is Caeleb Dressel, who, as the defending NCAA champion in the 50 free, doesn’t really have a big focus on the slowest of the four strokes. Freshman Ross Palazzo will be a huge help in his debut season for Florida this year, coming in at 54.35 and 1:57.74 in the 100 and 200 breast, respectively, but there is currently nobody on Florida’s 2015-16 roster listed as just a “breaststroker.” Dressel and Palazzo will have to be on breaststroke duty along with redshirt sophomore Quinn Cassidy, and the talent drops off after those three names.
The Gators did recently got a big commit from Chandler Bray, who is slightly faster than Guarente in yards and has a bit more of a jump ahead of him in the big pool. These two incoming freshmen are top-tier breaststroke talents who will certainly help fill the hole of the three breaststrokers who have exhausted their eligibility with Florida after last season, as well as open up guys like Dressel and Palazzo to swim other events.
With Guarente’s lifetime bests, he would have been on the cusp of finaling in both breaststrokes at the 2015 SEC Championships, but isn’t quite ready to contribute individually for the Gators.
While Delk and Guarente aren’t the pre-packaged, ready-to-score commitments that you tend to see head off to NCAA powerhouses like Florida, they have proven themselves with A final appearances at this summer’s Junior Nationals and still have another year to develop their strengths before they get to Gainesville. The two join a now six-strong class made up of Maxime Rooney, Drew Clark, Chandler Bray, and diver Alex Farrow.
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