Anthony Nesty made more history Thursday when he was picked to lead the U.S. men's swimming team in Paris, where he will become the first Black head coach for the powerhouse American squad at the Olympics.
Nesty's selection was announced by USA Swimming, which also appointed Todd DeSorbo to head the women's squad next summer.
Nesty, the University of Florida coach, works with top American swimmers such as Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel and Bobby Finke.
“I’m excited to be the men’s head Olympic coach in Paris,” Nesty said in a statement released by USA Swimming. “Todd and I look forward to coaching these athletes to the best of their abilities in Paris next summer.”
Competing for Suriname, Nesty was the first Black male swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal when he upset Matt Biondi at the 1988 Seoul Games. In 2022, Nesty became the first Black coach to lead a U.S. team at the world championships.
Nesty and DeSorbo, who coaches at the University of Virginia, will be reprising their roles from the Budapest worlds, where Nesty led the men's team and DeSorbo headed the women's group.
“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,” said Lindsay Mintenko, managing director of the U.S. national team.
Nesty and DeSorbo served as assistant coaches with the U.S. team at the Tokyo Olympics, where the Americans won a total of 30 medals. Nesty's swimmers included Finke, who captured a pair of golds, and Kieran Smith, who earned a bronze.
Since then, Dressel and Ledecky have joined his Gainesville, Florida-based pro training group.
In Budapest, the Americans captured 45 medals in the pool, surpassing the previous record of 38 by an individual country.
The U.S. team will be decided at the Olympic trials, which will be held next June at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
In an interview with The Associated Press ahead of this year's national championships, Nesty acknowledged the significance of having a prominent Black coach in a sport that is still struggling to diversify.
“You know you’re a role model,” he said. “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.”
As a swimmer, Nesty produced one of the greatest upsets in Olympic swimming history when he beat Biondi by one-hundredth of a second in the 100-meter butterfly at Seoul. He remains the only gold medalist from Suriname, a country of less than 1 million people.
“It’s just an amazing story,” Nesty told The AP. “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.”
Now, he's adding another chapter to that story.
AP sports: https://apnews.com/sports
Paul Newberry, The Associated Press