Four Gators swimmers headed to Tokyo Olympics

during day 4 of the SEC Championships on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas / UAA Communications photo by John Glaser

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Posted June 25, 2021 | Staff and Associated Press

Four former or current Florida Gators qualified for the Tokyo Olympics at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.

Caleb Dressel is shown in this file photo. Dressel recently qualified for four event in the swimming program at the Tokyo Olympics. [John Glaser/UAA]

The biggest name of the group was Caleb Dressel who qualified for three individual events including the 50 freestyle, the 100 freestyle and the 100 butterfly.

Dressel, 24, tied his American record of 21.04 in the 50 freestyle and in qualifying for the fly he posted a time of 49.87 — just off his world record of 49.50. He set both records two years ago at the world championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

“This meet has gone as according to plan as it could have,” he said.

Dressel also qualified for the 4×100 freestyle relay.

National team newcomer and Gator junior Kieran Smith qualified for two Tokyo programs with a victory in the 200 freestyle and the 400 free. Smith will also swim in the 4×200 free relay.

Bobby Finke another Gator junior won the final event of the trials, romping to victory in the 1,500 freestyle in 14 minutes, 46.06 seconds. He was about a half-lap ahead of runner-up Michael Brinegar, who touched in 15:00.87 and also is Tokyo-bound.

Finke doubled up his Olympic racing schedule after previously winning the 800 free, posting a career best and the fourth-fastest time in the world this year in the 1,500.

“That time means a lot,” he said. “I’ve been waiting to drop in that race for a couple of years now. I’m going to go to Tokyo and try to improve my time.”

Former gator Natalie Hinds qualified for the 4×100 freestyle relay after finishing fourth in the 100 free.

The four will have a familiar face in Toyko after Gators men’s head swim coach Anthony Nesty was named an Assistant Coach to the Men’s U.S Olympic Swim Team.

“I am very honored to be appointed to the United States Olympic Staff as a Men’s Assistant Coach”, said Nesty. “I am very excited to be with our athletes on this journey and we will all do our best to represent the Gators and the United States admirably. We have some work to do and we will do our best to get ourselves on the medal podium in Tokyo.”

The Tokyo Olympics will run July 23 through Aug. 8, with the swimming events scheduled for July 24-August 1.

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