February is Black History Month - Today We are Highlighting Anthony Nesty!

Mary Ellen Tynan

The next swimmer in our #BlackHistoryMonth celebration is Anthony Nesty! Anthony was born in Trinidad in 1967. His family moved to Suriname when he was seven months old, and he started swimming at the age of 5. He trained and competed in Suriname and the Caribbean through the beginning of his teenage year - first representing Suriname (with his sister Pauline) at the 1983 Pan American Games. After placing 21st in the 100-meter butterfly at the 1984 Summer Olympics, Nesty began training at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida - while here, he broke the school’s 100-yard butterfly record previously held by Pablo Morales.

At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea, Nesty became the second Black swimmer to win an Olympic medal and the first to win a Gold medal. He edged American favorite Matt Biondi by one one-hundredth of a second to win the 100-meter butterfly - he finished in 53.00 and Biondi in 53.01. Nesty is the only Olympic medal winner from Suriname and after winning his Olympic Gold medal, he was unbeaten in the 100-meter butterfly for three years.

After winning his gold medal in Seoul, Nesty accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he enjoyed a successful swimming career with the Gators (where he won three consecutive NCAA individual championships in the 100-yard butterfly and received sixteen All-American honors). He graduated in 1994.

From 1999 to 2006, he served as Assistant Coach at the University of Florida, moving up to Associate Head Coach in 2006 and Men’s Head Coach in 2018 - a position he still holds today. According to retired Head Coach Gregg Troy: “Anthony is one of the most revered coaches in college swimming, and one of the few who is considered both a great athlete and a great coach. . . His experience at the Olympics as an athlete is instrumental in his ability to relate to our current athletes. His reputation for getting the most out of them speaks for itself.” Under Nesty’s tutelage, Florida athletes have garnered 1,148 All-America honors and won 43 individual national championships. While at Florida, he has also coached 42 Olympians who have won a total of 23 medals, including 11 gold.