And the Gator Swim Club gets even stronger, as Gemma Spofforth has officially received funding from the British Swimming Association to return to Florida to train with Gregg Troy, the coach who led her to so much success at the college level.
Normally, the BSA only funds athletes who train domestically in the UK, but they have made an exception for Spofforth, who graduated from the University of Florida in December.
In the near-term, she will spend 6 weeks training in The Gold Coast, Australia, and then join National Team coach Kevin Renshaw at Loughborough University back in England for final preparations for March’s National Championship meet. Unlike the US team, who qualified last summer, the British squad is using their March meet as qualification for the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai.
After that meet, she will return to Gainesville to rejoin a group that now includes 2012 Olympic probables Elizabeth Beisel, Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer, Omar Pinzon, and Peter Vanderkaay, along with a slew of other elite-level athletes. The Gator Swim Club appears as though it could be amassing the most impressive group of swimmers in one training group that we’ve seen probably since 2004, when 3 of the 4 legs of the USA’s World Record setting medley relay were all training together in Austin. Given the women’s program that Troy has added to the men’s group, however, a strong argument could be made that the Gator’s depth far outweighs the Longhorns’ fireworks. I will be interested to see if anyone else jumps on board headed towards London.
Spofforth was grateful for the opportunity. She told the BBC “”It’s amazing what they’ve done for me and I can now focus on reaching my peak for London 2012.”
Last season, Spofforth was ranked 5th in the world in the 100 back and 10th in the 200, and could be an important part of several British relays in Shanghai.