Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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."

Olympian Brooke Bennett's latest challenge? High school swim coach 09/04/17 [Last modified: Saturday, September 2, 2017 8:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. USF defense feeds on Temple offense to take NCAA interceptions lead

    College

    TAMPA — Backed up in his end zone, Temple quarterback Logan Marchi scrambled, trying to elude a USF defensive end coming straight for him. Until then, Marchi hadn't had much luck hitting his receivers.

    South Florida Bulls safety Devin Abraham (20) sacks Temple Owls quarterback Logan Marchi (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
  2. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated

    College

    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  3. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person

    College

    TAMPA

    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  4. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    The Rays still talk about having a shot to make the playoffs. But recognizing and correcting mistakes will help them next year, such as Mallex Smith trying to steal third in the first. "Those are the little things we've got to find how to eliminate real quick," manager Kevin Cash said.