GAINESVILLE, Fla., April 27. UNIVERSITY of Florida men's swimming head coach Gregg Troy announced the signing of two athletes during the spring signing period. Ron Ballatore (Gainesville, Fla.) and Nick Bonucchi (Bridel, Luxembourg) will join the Gators beginning with the 2004-05 season.
Ballatore, son of former Gator men's swimming head coach Ron Ballatore (1996-99), earned NISCA All-America honors in 2003 in the 200-yard individual medley while competing for Buchholz High School. He helped lead his squad to a seventh place finish at the FHSAA Class 3A State Championships in 2003 by posting two individual event top-five finishes, while swimming on a pair of top-six relays. He took fifth in the 200-yard individual medley (1:55.88) and was also fifth in the 100-yard freestyle (47.79). Upon his signing, he was ranked in the top 10 in 2003-04 among Florida swimmers in the 17-18 age group in long course meters in six different events.
"Ron is one of the best swimmers in the area and will be a great addition to our team," Troy said. "He has the ability to mature and really help us out down the road. I think he has a very bright future ahead."
Bonucchi, a Florida native currently living in Luxembourg, swam in the FHSAA 1A Championships as a freshman in the 50-yard freestyle. He also swam for Team Weston Aquatics, finishing eighth in the 100-yard freestyle at the 2001 Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics (58.57). He also posted top-10 finishes at the event in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard breaststroke.
"Nick will add breaststroke depth, which is good because most of our breaststrokers are older," Troy said. "It might take him a little while to fully blossom, but I think he has the tools to eventually help us out a great deal."
The spring group brings the total number of incoming athletes for the upcoming season to 11. Ballatore and Bonucchi join the fall signing class of Chris Barnard (Weston, Fla.), Tim Hughes (Winter Park, Fla.), Max Jaben (Overland Park, Kan.), Dustin McLarty (DeLand, Fla.), Daniel Penniman (Pensacola, Fla.), Darian Townsend (South Africa), J.B. Walsh (Virginia Beach, Va.), Grant Wieczorek (Carmel, Ind.) and Tobias Work (Falmouth, Mass.).