Sherridon Dressel Leads Florida’s Re-Rise to No. 1

sherridon-dressel 2
Photo Courtesy: Bethany Hocker

Sherridon Dressel looked at the scoreboard and had to look again.

The Florida senior touched the wall in the 100-yard backstroke in 52.21, one of the best times in her career — and it was still mid-October.

“Right off the bat, the first meet, we were posting some pretty fast times, which was a little surprising to be honest. Last year, I wasn’t anywhere near that time in the 100 back at the beginning of the season. So know you roll with it and see where it goes. We were loving the energy, the atmosphere and just racing,” Sherridon Dressel told Swimming World. “It is definitely a confidence boost when you go that quick early on because we know so much more is going to happen down the road at big meets. It is huge to feed off of each other. Attitude is everything at a swim meet. You can feel the energy.”

That energy has led to a 5-0 start for the Gators, and their first No. 1 ranking in a decade. The team has come a long way since scoring zero points at the 2017 NCAAs.

“Just looking back on the past three years, it is pretty amazing how far the team has already coming. If you asked me my freshman year where I see the team going by my senior year, I honestly couldn’t have imagined that we would ever be ranked No. 1,” Dressel said. “But there is a long season to go. We want to stay intense and focused because everyone knows that rankings don’t matter this early on, same as times. All of those things are easily changed. Nothing is guaranteed, but we have good things ahead of us for sure.”

sherridon-dressel 1

Photo Courtesy: Bethany Hocker

But there still is something exciting about earning that top spot.

“It is super exciting,” she said. “ No one saw us as a team as much of anything. We were seen as the underdogs a bit, and maybe we still are. But we know how hard we have worked. It is nice to have the validation that things are working and things are going up.”

It started with Dressel’s first dominating performance, which is still the third-fastest this year, second-fastest not on a relay.

“I am at the point where it is my senior year. I have gone through it for three years and what do I have to lose at this point? I want to give it everything I can for my team,” Dressel said. “We have big goals this year and I want to make sure I put everything I have into it. I don’t want to look back and wish I could have given more or done more.It is a good mindset to be in. I think our attitude is exactly where it needs to be.”

Dressel finished seventh in the 100 back at NCAAs last year in 51.03. It was a race packed with talent in Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson, Cal’s Amy Bilquist and Izzy Ivey, Stanford’s Taylor Ruck, Kentucky’s Asia Seidt, Michigan’s Maggie MacNeil and Auburn’s Aly Tetzloff.

That is a field loaded with national team members, NCAA champions, world champions and Olympians.

Being a part of that race had a huge impact on Dressel.

“I was pretty happy with my NCAAs. It is a meet where you don’t really know what to expect,” Sherridon Dressel said. “We did a lot better than we did the year before. Personally, it could have been a little bit better. My races weren’t as quick as I wanted to be, but I was definitely happy to be in the top eight and race with Asia Seidt, Beata Nelson, Amy Bilquist, all of those insanely fast girls again.”

It was a big moment for her team to see as well.

“Sherridon works so hard every day. She has those amazing underwaters. Those don’t just show up in meets, she does those every day,” teammate Vanessa Pearl said. “She always has a positive attitude and it is really awesome to have her as a teammate. Her senior year is perfect timing for her to have a great season.”

It is leading a special start for the Gators, who face rival Georgia this weekend.

“Every year has been so different. My freshman year was just a whirlwind. It was a big adjustment from what I was used to. Our class was pretty big so we had each other to lean on. Now we are all seniors and I think that has helped the team bond a little bit. We need to take advantage of every moment because it goes by so fast,” Dressel said.

Dressel thinks adjusting to the different training with coaches Jeff Poppell and Whitney Hite, who started last year after the departure of Gregg Troy.

The Gators finished 24th at the NCAA championships last year, an improvement of nine spots. They also finished second in the SEC, led by Dressel.

“I have had my fair share in changes of coaches. But the team clicks very well with Jeff and Whitney. They definitely have built up a solid team atmosphere. We definitely trust what they are doing. We have already come such a long way. It shows the work they have put in is showing up,” Dressel said.

Early success has given the Gators a No. 1 ranking. Sure, it is early, but it is some validation that the Gators are back on the national stage, after not scoring any points at NCAAs just three seasons ago in 2017.

“There is so much potential on the team. There is no reason we couldn’t have a big group of girls make the top eight at NCAAs,” Sherridon Dressel said. “I have no doubt that we will get there.”

during the Gators' meet against the Kentucky Wildcats and Ohio State Buckeyes on Friday, January 4, 2019 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium in Gainesville, FL / UAA Communications photo by Tim Casey

Photo Courtesy: Tim Casey

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

Gator nation is proud.

3 years ago

I have said it for years that her time would come……. Can’t wait to watch you swim tomorrow Sherridon ❤️❤️❤️. GO GATORS

3 years ago

This is awesome. Making a name for herself. She is probably tired being known as Caeleb‘a little sister