14 Months into Hectic College Career, FIU’s Jasmine Nocentini Ready for First NCAAs

Photo Courtesy: FIU Athletics

14 Months into Hectic College Career, FIU’s Jasmine Nocentini Ready for First NCAAs

Jasmine Nocentini had barely arrived in the United States when everything went sideways last year.

The native of Padova, Italy, at just 17 years old, joined the Florida International University swimming team midway through the season in January. After about two months of training, and a successful Conference USA championships for the league’s reigning power, COVID-19 brought it all to a screeching halt.

No NCAAs. No return to Italy, where her region of Veneto was being particularly hard hit through the spring. Instead, she and her uncle decamped to Wisconsin and she spent four months out of the water. It was more than seven months before Nocentini got to return home and see her parents again before returning to Miami in January for another abbreviated season.

So in comparison to all that, the challenge of swimming at NCAAs seems a little more prosaic.

“Coming from staying at your house, your parents doing everything, and then moving to college and having to do everything by yourself, not even going to practice but going to school by yourself, doing everything and then having to face a pandemic and decide where to go,” Nocentini told Swimming World this week. “I hadn’t been home for seven months. It definitely taught me a lot of things, such as independence and having to solve my problems by myself.”

Nocentini isn’t only the lone representative for FIU at the NCAA Women’s Championships, which start this week. She’s the only Conference USA swimmer in the field, swimming the 50 and 100 freestyle.


Jasmine Nocentini; Photo Courtesy: FIU athletics

It’s the same thing she was facing last year, when she qualified for NCAAs in the same two events. It’s the 10th straight season FIU has qualified a swimmer.

“I’m excited,” Nocentini said. “I know it’s going to be great for the program. And hopefully next year we’ll be able to bring more people to the meet.”

Ever the sprinter, Nocentini has said she’s had no problem adapting from meters to yards, as is an issue for some international swimmers. She’s also enjoying the team aspect of college swimming, FIU coming off its seventh straight Conference USA crown.

“I really like yards. It’s very cool, very short, fast,” Nocentini said. “It’s very different from our type of swimming, let’s say professional swimming or just club swimming, it’s very different especially because you’re not swimming for yourself or individually but you’re focusing more on the team. So sometimes even if you swim the 50 freestyle, maybe the coach thinks you can do a 100 butterfly for the team. It’s more of a team sport. I really like it. The energy that the team brings you, it’s something that’s not there in professional swimming or other types of swimming that are not college, so I think a lot of athletes can have a big benefit from it.”

Nocentini already showed her perseverance at CUSAs, weathering a disqualification in the 50 free where she had been a massive favorite. She went 22.28 in the morning prelims, a time fast enough to get to NCAAs, but was disappointed not to score points for her team with a rolling start in the night session.

That time cushioned the blow of the DQ, just as her performance in the shortened sophomore season has helped make up for a freshman NCAAs that wasn’t.

“I wasn’t sad,” she said. “I wanted to get the experience, also because I was the youngest athlete going to NCAAs at 17. But it would’ve been a cool experience to have, but I know a lot of other people lost the chance, and it would’ve been way worse for seniors that it was their last chance, their last opportunity to have for their four years or three years. It wasn’t that good, but I still have other years to do that.”