Gators add Spofforth & D-III's Harden as Volunteer Assistants

The University of Florida swimming and diving team has added volunteer assistant coaches Gemma Spofforth and Michael Harden to their staff. The pair will bring collegiate swimming experience with them as they help the Gators continue their success in and out of the pool.

“It is outstanding that we have been able to add two extremely talented, smart and energetic young people to our staff,” said Head Coach Gregg Troy. “Both will be tremendous additions to the program.”

Gemma Spofforth, hailing from Sussex, England, is a former Gator swimmer and British Olympian. During her time as a Gator, she racked up seven NCAA titles, 25 All-America honors, 13 All-SEC Honors, 11 SEC championships, one World Championship, four SEC records and nine school records. She also helped the Gators win the 2010 NCAA Championship. Spofforth has been a strong presence on the international scene as she is currently the world record holder in the 100 back and is coming off the 2012 Olympics where she finished fifth in the 100 back.

“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,” remarked Troy. “She relates well to athletes and their goals.”

Currently a Masters student at Florida in Environmental Engineering, Michael Harden comes to the Gator swimming and diving team from Lansing, Michigan. Harden swam for Olivet College where he lettered in swimming, track and cross country. Some of his accomplishments in the pool include, being named Al Deal Male Athlete of the Year, a DIII All-American, Academic All-American and a school record holder in six events. He will also bring coaching experience, as he served as an assistant coach with the Olivet.

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

The Gators will begin the season this Friday with the All Florida Invitational running September 28-30 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.