Introducing the Anthony Nesty Era of UF Swim & Dive

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Photo Courtesy: David Owens

By Payton Titus, Swimming World College Intern.

Following the retirement of longtime head coach Gregg TroyAnthony Nesty was promoted to head coach of the men’s swimming and diving team at the University of Florida (UF). Before having a hand in generating household names like Caeleb Dressel at his alma mater, Nesty became one himself.

Nesty’s Swimming Career

His accolades include a then school record of five NCAA titles at UF (100-yard fly in 1990-1992, 200-yard fly in 1990 and 400-yard medley relay team in 1991), an Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter fly in 1988 (where he famously overthrew the American favorite, Matt Biondi), bronze in the same event four years later and a World Championship title in the 100-meter fly in 1991. In 1998, Nesty was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame for his illustrious swimming career.

Nest’s Coaching Career

After three years as a club coach for Swim Florida in Sarasota, Nesty returned to Gainesville to work alongside the distinguished Troy, who also happened to be his high school coach during his time at The Bolles School of Jacksonville. Since then, he has held many coaching titles at the university as well as internationally.

For the 1998-1999 season, Nesty was named the assistant men’s coach at UF. From 1999 to 2006, he served as the assistant coach over the entire program. From 2006 to 2018, Nesty worked as the associate head coach to Troy. For the upcoming 2018-19 season, he and coach Jeff Poppell hold associate head coach titles of the men’s and women’s teams, respectively.

Outside of his work in the NCAA, Nesty was named the head coach of the Suriname National Swim Team. In 2008, 2012 and 2016, Nesty served as the head coach of the Suriname Summer Olympic Team. In 2009 and 2010, Nesty served as the assistant coach for the Cayman National Team. His first time coaching a US National Team was in 2011, where he was the assistant coach for the World University Games.

As Coach Nesty enters his twentieth year on the UF coaching staff, he is eager to maintain the program’s world-class status and set new goals for the swimmers under his tutelage both in and out of the pool.

during the Gators' third day at the NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships on Friday, March 23, 2018 at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Minn. / UAA Communications photo by Tim Casey

Photo Courtesy: Tim Casey

Swimming World: How do you believe your previous positions in the swimming community have prepared you for this specific job? For example, did being an Olympian give you the experience necessary to guide your swimmers through high-pressure meets. If so, how?

Nesty: I’ve been the assistant and associate coach at the same program for 20 years. When that happens, you always have things that you’d like to do in mind if you were to become the head coach someday. It has been awesome to be able to watch the integrity of the program over the years. The quality of the athletes’ performances really stand out to me.

As a swimmer, you know what your guys are going through on a day-to-day basis. It makes it a little easier as far as writing practices and preparing for major meets are concerned. From being an athlete to becoming a coach, you know the ins-and-outs of everything the athletes go through. As a coach, you have to take that and try to take into account how they look and feel in the water, both mentally and physically.

SW: How have you and Coach Poppell decided to run the newly structured program? How have the two of you decided to approach splitting the teams?

Nesty: He has obviously been a little busy trying to find an assistant, so we haven’t spoken in depth about how we’re going to do things. But, we are supportive of Jeff [Poppell] and Whitney [Hite] coming in. I think that when we go to meets that both teams will attend, we will all travel together. We will be competing together at these meets and we will keep the team together in that respect.

We both want to put our own stamp on the program, but Coach [Steve] Jungbluth and I will be very supportive of both the women’s team and Jeff [Poppell] and Whitney [Hite]. We will work together to achieve the success that Florida has put forth throughout the years. Even though we are split, we are a team; that’s the most important thing.

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Photo Courtesy: Andy Ringgold/Aringo

SW: What do you hope that people say about your swim program after your time as the men’s head coach is up?

Nesty: Like I said before, the integrity of the program has always been the main focus for every coach that has been here. Coach Jungbluth and I will try to continue that tradition. I think that we are going to be a very disciplined team. We will be very goal oriented. As I said before, we will strive to keep the [athletic] performances at a high level and have that continue in the classroom with a 3.5 GPA.

I want us to be a respected team as well as a very respectful team. What you take from your years here at Florida after you graduate and move on will certainly help you later on in life.

Coach Jungbluth and I are very excited. The season hasn’t started yet, but we are looking forward to it. Jungbluth says of Nesty’s new position: “He’s been here for 20 years. He was a great athlete, and I have 100 percent confidence in a seamless transition.”

SW: What areas will you mainly be focusing on as head coach? How and in what areas do you aim to improve the most?

Nesty: For me, I would like to keep the integrity of the program intact and the athletic performances at a higher level. I told the guys that our new goal academically is to maintain a 3.5 GPA average. We haven’t gotten to that point yet, so that is one of my goals that I would like for the team to achieve.

As it is right now, Coach Jungbluth will probably be more focused on the 200 [meters and yards] and down. I’ll focus more on the 200 [meters and yards] and up. We have worked tirelessly to have a really good 2018 class. Those guys are really good on paper, but they haven’t gotten to campus yet.

Our goal is to, again, keep the tradition going. We have won six championships in a row, which I would obviously like to keep going.  We are going to do all that we can to make sure that the performances are where they need to be.

Being a Gator means a lot to me; as an athlete and now as the head coach of this program. I want to keep the tradition of Florida being on of the best programs, not only in the country, but in the world.

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4 years ago

YES!

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Payton rocks! So proud of her

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4 years ago

Congratulations Coach Go Gators