Gators at the Olympics: Kieran Smith

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GAINESVILLE, Florida – OK, so let’s put that aside.

Kieran smith won’t be America’s biggest swimming star at the 2021 Olympics. He won’t even be the biggest Florida Gators swimming star at the Summer Games. This distinction will certainly go to Caeleb Dressel, who could well explode as the greatest of all athletes (nationally or internationally) at the Games.

More on this Dressel guy down the line.

Smith, however, will have the chance to make a name for himself in a trio of freestyle events, each of which is set to be hotly contested by an outstanding Australian team.

The two-time Southeastern Conference male swimmer of the year, Smith is the US record holder in the 500 freestyle, but this is a short course and therefore not an Olympic event. The 6-foot-5 senior of Ridgewood, Conn. Earned his spot on the team by using his perfect shot to win the 200 and 400 free trials at practice last month. These two victories also earned the team one of the free relay spots.

While his time of 3: 44.86 crushed the US field by three seconds, that number currently sits ninth in the world. His 1: 45.29 was good enough to win the 200, but he currently ranks sixth in the world.

So Smith has work to do, but he’s also known to work. We are going to watch.

At Kieran Smith in the 200 and 400 freestyle events at the US Olympic Trials, are currently ranked sixth and ninth in the world, respectively.

IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE

Kieran smith

SPORT: swimming men

HOW HE QUALIFIED: Won the 400 freestyle (3: 44.86) on June 13 and the 200 freestyle (1: 45.29) on June 14 at the US Olympic trials in Omaha, Neb. His wins and times automatically gave Smith a spot in the 4×200 team free relay.

TOKYO SCHEDULE: July 24 – 400 free preliminaries; July 25 – 200 free rounds; 400 free final; July 26 – 200 free semi-finals; 200 free final; July 27 – 4 x 200 semi-finals and final.

UF CAREER: Made an instant impact as a collegiate rookie on the SEC Dynasty which is the UF men’s swim team set to be named the league’s Freshman of the Year. In his sophomore year, he was crowned top male player in the SEC meet, a title he defended as a junior in 2021 as he guided the Gators to a ninth consecutive league championship by winning the 500 freestyle with an American record of 4: 06.32, then adding a first in the individual 400 IM. Smith was also third in the 100 freestyle.

MUST KNOW: In the fall of 2019, Smith was selected by the UF coach Anthony nesty as one of the team representatives at the “Gator Leadership Experience”, a first year pilot program and a brainchild of the sports director Scott stricklin. The group met monthly (until the COVID shutdown) with the goal of developing leaders across all Gators programs.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I still have to tell myself that I belong here – and I do. I hope to improve and be competitive with the rest of the world.” “- Smith after winning the 400 freestyle in practice.


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