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Gators In Olympic Games: Alfonso Mestre – Florida Gators

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — In Venezuela, one of the big stories of the 2021 Summer Olympic Games is the Mestre family legacy making its splashing revival in Tokyo.

Alberto Mestre was just 15 when he made headlines competing for his home country in the 1980 Games at Moscow. Mestre swam in the 100- and 200-meter freestyle events, but did not advance out of the prelims. He did, however, go to the 1983 Pan American Games and claimed silver and bronze medals in free sprint events, then qualified for the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles, reaching the finals in both the 100 and 200, where he finished fifth and sixth, respectively. 

And now 35 years later, both of Mestre’s sons, Alberto Jr., of Stanford, and Alfonso, of Florida, will be competing at the Games; Alberto in the 50 free and Alfonso in the 800 free, which will be a first-time Olympic event. The two will become the eighth set of brothers to compete in the Olympics for Venezuela. 

Ah, but there’s so much more to this story — especially as it relates to FloridaGators.com. That’s because the Mestre Olympic legacy is also the Gator Olympic legacy. 

After the ’83 Pan Am Games, the elder Mestre came to UF and was not only part of three NCAA champions relay teams, but helped propel then Coach Randy Reese and his program to national titles in ’83 and ’84. The elder Mestre left Florida as a 17-time All American and graduated in 1987 and was inducted in the UF Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011. 

The Mestre’s are the first father-son Olympic tandem in Gators history.

Now, that’s a legacy. 

The Mestre brothers (Alberto, left, and Alfonso)

AT A GLANCE
 

Alfonso Mestre

 
SPORT: Swimming

HOW HE QUALIFIED: Mestre bested the minimum Olympic qualification time of 7:54.31 in the 800 free by recording a 7:50.31 split in the 1,500 free at the FINA A cut of the Caribbean Confederation Amateur Swimming Championship in Puerto Rico last month. Yes, that counts. Mestre beat the qualifying mark by nearly four seconds, hitting the wall at 800 meters in 7:50.31. 

TOKYO SCHEDULE: July 27 — 800 free heats. July 29 — 800 free final.

UF CAREER: Helped Gators to a 4th place finish in the 800 free relay at the NCAA Championships, swimming the third leg after Kieran Smith and Trey Freeman, and before anchor Bobby Finke. Both Smith and Finke will be in Tokyo, also. 

NEED TO KNOW: Mestre will be one of 11 swimmers at the 2021 Games to have come through the UF program. 

QUOTE OF NOTE: ” “This is what I have trained for all my life. All of the sacrifices have paid off and I can’t wait to give it my all for Venezuela in Tokyo.”  — Mestre.

Previously: “Gators In Olympic Games” Series

June 26: Cory McGee  

June 27: Michelle Moultrie 

June 28: Natalie Hinds 

June 29: Adriana Leon

June 30: Enzo Martinez-Scarpe

July 1: Kieran Smith 

July 2: Genevieve LaCaze Gregson

July 3: Will Claye 

July 4: Mark Kolozsvary

July 5: Marife Torres 

July 6: Aubree Munro

July 7: Leanne Wong

July 8: Hakim Sani Brown

July 9: Deanne Rose

July 10: Yanis David

July 11: Marquis Dendy

July 12: Lloydricia Cameron

July 13: Bradley Beal 

July 14: Bobby Finke

July 15: Kelsey Stewart 



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