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Sunday, May 29, 2022
<p>Kieran Smith, a senior who took home a bronze medal in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, finished first in the 200-meter freestyle (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)</p>

Kieran Smith, a senior who took home a bronze medal in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, finished first in the 200-meter freestyle (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

The Gators take to the pools again this weekend, this time with two more Olympic medalists in the water.

The 2021-22 Florida swimming and diving season gets underway with an away meet against the Florida Atlantic Owls on Oct 2. 

The men’s team will begin ranked 3rd in the CSCAA top 25 poll, the highest of any SEC team, while the women’s team is ranked 12th nationally.

The meet marks head coach Anthony Nesty’s fourth season with the Gators, and coming off three SEC Coach of the Year honors in a row, he and the team will look to keep up the standard held so far during his tenure.

The Gators men's team won their ninth SEC championship in a row last season, while the women's team boasted an impressive second-place finish at the event. The men's team went on to place third at the NCAA championships, while the women placed 17th. Both teams will look to continue the success from years previous while taking the step forward towards continued success. 

The men’s roster is star-studded, with a pair of Gators returning from the 2020 Olympics held in Tokyo this past summer. Team USA star and senior Bobby Finke brought home two gold medals in the 800m and 1500m free at the games, while senior Kieran Smith brought home the bronze for the United States in the 400m free. Eric Frese and Amro Al-Wir also appeared at the Olympics representing Germany and Jordan, respectively. 

The Gators women's team has plenty of fresh faces, welcoming nine new members to the team this offseason. The team is headlined by Talia Bates, who earned All-SEC second team honors this past season, and sophomore Elise Bauer, who was an SEC All-Freshman team member.

As for FAU, the Owls are led by coach Lara Preacco, who has held the head coach position since 2014. The team enters the season coming off a runner-up finish at the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association championships for the men, their second in three years. The women's team placed fourth at the Conference-USA championships. 

The Owls men's team is led by junior Kyle Douglas and senior Alex Peckmann, who were both gold medalists in their respective events at the 2021 CCSA championships. The women's team is led by sophomore Nika Culina and junior Alicia Mora, who are both coming off third team All C-USA honors from last season. 

Florida Atlantic’s season is underway coming off a win against Indian River State College on September 24, and will hope to challenge the Gators as their season kicks off October 2 at 10:00 a.m in Boca Raton, FL. 

Contact Jackson Castellano at jcastellano@alligator.org. Find him on Twitter @jaxacastellano.

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