Anthony Nesty, First Black Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer, To Lead USA Men’s Swim Team In Paris
Anthony Nesty, who made history in the 1988 Olympics by becoming the first Black male swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal, has been tapped by the USA Swimming to lead the men’s swim team in Paris.
According to reporting from ESPN, Nesty has been working with top American swimmers Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel, and Bobby Finke in his position as the head swim coach at the University of Florida. In 2022, Nesty became the first Black coach to lead a United States team at the World Championships. In a press release from USA Swimming, Nesty and fellow coach Todd DeSorbo were credited with responsibility for ensuring that the United States brought home a record 45 medals at those world championships.
“Together they served as head coaches for the U.S. team at the 2022 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary where American swimmers earned 45 medals in the pool – good for the most medals ever awarded at a world championship, surpassing the previous U.S. record of 38,” the press release stated.
As a result of this achievement, USA Swimming’s National Team Managing Director Lindsay Mintenko is excited about the future of the swim program under the tandem.
“I am thrilled Coaches DeSorbo and Nesty will be joining us in Paris and am looking forward to the experience and leadership they will bring to the Games,” Mintenko said.
Nesty signaled his excitement, saying, “I’m excited to be the men’s head Olympic coach in Paris. Todd and I look forward to coaching these athletes to the best of their abilities in Paris next summer.”
Nesty conducted an interview with the Associated Press acknowledging the importance of his position in a sport that desperately needs to diversify.
“You know you’re a role model. You have to take that very seriously. Maybe it’s why I work so hard at what I do. I try to be the best Anthony Nesty I can be.,” he said.
Speaking about his historic upset for his native country of Suriname, which contains fewer than a million people, Nesty said, “It’s just an amazing story. Whether it was being in the right place at the right time or just luck or just God-given talent that I, of course, had, it’s a unique story, that’s for sure.”
The larger swimming world, including the Britain-based Black Swimming Association, is looking forward to seeing what can come out of Nesty’s appointment.
Black Swimming Association founder Seren Jones told the AP, “I remember the first time I saw a Black official at a meet. I actually started crying. That reaction surprised me a bit, but there is such a starvation of role models for Black swimmers. I never had one.”