Friday, April 20, 2018
Sports

Olympian Brooke Bennett's latest challenge? High school swim coach

ST. PETERSBURG — When Bill Burrows retired last season as Northeast's swim coach after 30 years, Brooke Bennett saw an opportunity she couldn't refuse. An Olympic medalist in 1996 and 2000, Bennett, 37, clearly knows a thing or two about swimming.

Her husband, Jeremy Frioud, is Northeast's football coach and a teacher at the school. Bennett is a mother of two young children and recently started a swim academy, so she was busy enough. But she couldn't resist coaching a high school team.

"It was definitely something that I wanted to try," Bennett. "I know (Frioud) wanted me to know about the not so glamorous side of coaching. I've been through this and I know it's not all glamour. There's all this paperwork, which is stuff I never had to do. There's like 15 things that have to get done."

Bennett was never a high school swimmer. At 16 she was busy winning a gold medal in the 800 freestyle in Atlanta. The Brandon native followed that with gold in the 400 and 800 freestyle in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

She attempted to qualify for the 2004 Olympics but came in third in the 800 free at the U.S. Olympic trials. Only the top two qualify.

That ended her competitive career. Bennett married Frioud three years ago and the couple have two boys, Bas, 2, and Bjorn, seven weeks. Of course, both children already spent time in a pool.

"The longer you keep them out of the water, the more they have a fear of the water," Bennett said.

While Bennett is just starting her high school coaching career, that hasn't stopped a friendly (hopefully) debate on who is the best coach in the family.

"I'm the best coach in the family, at least right now," Frioud said.

Bennett said it's like comparing swim goggles to footballs.

"We always have the debate and I say swimmers are better athletes," Bennett said. "They are definitely different athletes. I will say that a lot of swimmers don't have a lot of coordination. I don't think they can do what football players do. But I don't think many football players can do what swimmers do."

As for style of coaching, it's hard to be more amped up than Frioud. His language is sometimes salty and his tolerance for mistakes low. Bennett has seen that on several Friday nights, but she says she's no angel on the pool deck either.

"I think Jeremy and I do have some similarities," Bennett said. "We're both very tough and demand a lot out of our athletes. But I think we're also different in a lot of ways. I do think I can learn from him."

Northeast is routinely good at swimming, and that doesn't look to change this year. Bennett said there are about 40 swimmers on the team, all with different talent levels. The top swimmer appears to be junior Colton Gray, who was third in the state meet last year in the 100 free.

But there are several others who Bennett hopes to help improve and make the Vikings a district contender.

"I want to set goals for each of them and then work hard with them to accomplish it," Bennett said. "We have all different levels of swimmers and I want to make sure all them reach the level they are capable of."

   
Comments
Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

TAMPA — Private developers would bear much of the cost of a new Rays stadium in Ybor City under a plan Hillsborough County officials are putting together.Developers would benefit by cashing in on commercial, retail and other construction around a ne...
Updated: 9 minutes ago

Racing schedules for 2018-19 parimutuel seasons released

OLDSMAR — Eight is not enough at Tampa Bay Downs, at least when the thoroughbred racing facility on Race Track Road opens its 93rd season July 1.The final card of what will be the Downs' sixth annual two-day Summer Festival of Racing will featu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

SAINT PETERSBURG — When describing the loss of defender David Najem, Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell and the player who will replace Najem chose the same word.Gutted.That settled over the Rowdies last weekend, one that was bad enough based o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
NFL draft confessions: The Bucs set the trap, and I took the cheese on Johnny Manziel

NFL draft confessions: The Bucs set the trap, and I took the cheese on Johnny Manziel

TAMPA — The NFL draft is one big game of Liar's Poker. Deal me out.Even the guys with a seat at the table don't know when someone is bluffing.Bucs general manager Jason Licht knows that the team's No. 7 overall pick this year will be affected b...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

BRANDON – Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen had not traveled to Tampa as of Friday afternoon, according to coach John Hynes, and his availability for Game 5 Saturday against the Lightning is in doubt.Hynes, however, did not rule out Vatan...
Updated: 3 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, 7:10 p.m.

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, 7:10 p.m.

Tonight's Rays lineup against the Twins. Brad Miller back in the lineup following his DL stint (left groin strain). First pitch at 7:10 p.m.LF Denard SpanDH C.J. CronRF Carlos Gomez1B Brad Miller3B Daniel Robertson2B Joey WendleC Wilson RamosCF Malle...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blueline. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by Steve (Yze...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Why Game 5 is crucial to the Lightning

Why Game 5 is crucial to the Lightning

BRANDON — Three things that popped into my head as the Lightning and Devils get ready to play Game 5 Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena.1. I'm going to do something that a hockey team in the playoffs would never do, not in a million years....
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays DFA Brandon Snyder to activate Brad Miller

Rays DFA Brandon Snyder to activate Brad Miller

The Rays activated INF Brad Miller off the DL for Friday's game.Miller had been out 11 days due to a groin strain.To make room on the roster, they DFA'd INF/OF Brandon Snyder, who was called up on Tuesday.
Updated: 5 hours ago
Shaquem Griffin is about to join a long line of NFL draft picks from Lakewood

Shaquem Griffin is about to join a long line of NFL draft picks from Lakewood

ST. PETERSBURG — Former Lakewood High coach Brian Bruch started each season with the same spiel. He cautioned his players about not becoming obsessed with a professional football career, reciting statistics to emphasize the difficult the odds o...
Updated: 6 hours ago