Florida adds elite swimmers to staff

The Florida Gators swimming and diving teams picked up a pair of elite former collegiate swimmers as assistants on Thursday.

Gemma Spofforth, a former UF All-American, and Michael Harden, a former D-III All-American, are the newest additions to the UF staff.

“It is outstanding that we have been able to add two extremely talented, smart and energetic young people to our staff,” Florida coach Gregg Troy said in an article published on collegeswimming.com. “Both will be tremendous additions to the program.”

Spofforth is a former Gators swimmer and British Olympian from Sussex, England. She was a 25-time All-American at Florida, won seven NCAA titles and a world championship. She owns four Southeastern Conference records and seven school records. Spofforth is the world record holder in the 100 back and finished fifth in the event at this past summer’s Olympic Games.

“Gemma was not only a tremendous world class athlete while here at Florida but she is also a class individual and has tremendous skills in counseling,” Troy said in the article. “She relates well to athletes and their goals.”

Harden is currently enrolled in a master’s program at Florida. He lettered in swimming, track and cross country at Olivet College. He holds school records in six events and is a former D-III All-American swimmer.

“Mike was an outstanding athlete being the DIII athlete of the year,” Troy said is the article. “He also has a tremendous interest in biomechanics and video work. His focus in these areas will be invaluable.”

The Gators are hosting the three-day Florida Invitational this weekend.

Previous articleGators volleyball hits road for SEC play
Next articleBy The Numbers: Gators bye weeks
Mike Capshaw brings a wealth of experience to the Gator Country team. He’s been overseeing all editorial aspects of GatorCountry.com and Gator Country magazine by managing our team of staffers, interns and freelancers. He is now moving into a bigger role as a reporter by covering the football and basketball beats as well as providing coverage of all sports on campus. Mike’s 15 years in the business has included more than six years of covering SEC sports and recruiting at a daily newspaper in Arkansas. He has also helped launch a newspaper, magazines, websites and even a sports talk radio show. Because Mike puts family ahead of his career, he left the place where he was established when his wife received an opportunity to further her career at UF. He took a leap of faith that he could find a job in the Gainesville area and worked for a year at a newspaper group before joining the Gator Country family in November, 2011. Mike has won Florida Press Association awards for Best Sports Game Story and Best Sports Feature Story in the past two years as well as a company-wide award at his former newspaper group that includes some 60 publications, for Excellence in Sports Reporting. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeCapshawGC.