CLEARWATER, Fla. (FOX 13) - For Randy Reese, water has always been a part of life.
"Always been around the water,” he recalled. “My dad liked it."
Coach Reese was such a good swimmer growing up that he accepted an athletic scholarship to FSU.
"After my junior year, they discovered that I had a heart murmur and wouldn't let me swim my senior year, so they got me to coach.”
After graduating from college, he accepted the head-coaching job at Bolles High School in Jacksonville. In 1976, he took over as head coach at the University of Florida. His teams won 17 SEC titles and four national championships over 14 years.
"I recruited talent but also part of the talent is getting kids to work hard. And that's probably what I looked at more than any their ability in the water,” said Reese.
He was an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Team from 1980 until 1988. "In ‘84 we had 15 gold medals won by Florida swimmers.”
He now coaches young talent for the Clearwater Aquatic Team.
"He trains us not only physically but mentally and it challenges us and makes us better swimmers,” offered Sophia Hernandez, one of his swimmers.
Coach Reese was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2005. He’s a tough and caring coach that has made a big impact in the lives of his athletes.
"He definitely cares a lot about the swimmers," said swimmer Anna Dunn. "He'll push you to make sure you know your limits and you know how far you can go.”