Georgia expects continued success under new swim coaches

Stefanie Williams Moreno and Neil Versfeld are succeeding Jack Bauerle as coaches of Georgia's championship-laden swimming and diving program. (Photo by Steven Colquitt/UGA Athletics)

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Stefanie Williams Moreno and Neil Versfeld are succeeding Jack Bauerle as coaches of Georgia's championship-laden swimming and diving program. (Photo by Steven Colquitt/UGA Athletics)

ATHENS — Considering all Jack Bauerle has done and accomplished over 43 years, it makes sense that it would take two coaches to replace him.

The University of Georgia on Wednesday afternoon announced that Stefanie Williams Moreno and Neil Versfeld would succeed Bauerle as the Bulldogs’ swimming and diving coach.

Williams Moreno will coach the women’s team, and Versfeld will coach the men.

Bauerle, 70, announced his retirement earlier in the day, ending a 52-year association with the university and its highly decorated swim program. Bauerle had served as head coach of the women’s team since 1979 and the men’s team since 1983. He swam for the Bulldogs for four years beginning in 1970.

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Versfeld, 37, has been an associate head coach under Bauerle for the last three years, primarily overseeing the men’s team workouts. As a UGA swimmer, he was an NCAA champion and seven-time All-American, graduating as the Bulldogs’ record-holder in the 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard medley relay. He also swam for South Africa in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Likewise, Williams Moreno competed for Georgia as a swimmer and left the powerhouse program as the most decorated All-American in school history. Competing for the Bulldogs from 1998 to 2002, she earned 28 All-American citations while helping Georgia win its first three NCAA team championships (1999, 2000, 2001). Williams was a member of four NCAA champion relays, helping the 200 and 400 freestyle relays set American records in 2002. Individually, she won two SEC gold medals in the 200 freestyle and left school with the program record in the event. In 2017, she was inducted into the University of Georgia Circle of Honor.

“They are game ready. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to have them to continue the legacy we've built over the years."

- coach Jack Bauerle, on successors Stefanie Williams Moreno and Neil Versfeld

Williams Moreno has been an assistant on Bauerle’s staff for 10 years, the last four as associate head coach.

Their appointments were part of a succession plan hatched by Bauerle and approved by athletic director Josh Brooks.

“They are game ready,” Bauerle said of his successors. “I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to have them to continue the legacy we’ve built over the years.”

Said Brooks: “Dividing the two programs gives our new head coaches an opportunity to create synergy with their individual teams and support our student-athletes with focused attention. We are incredibly grateful to have two of the best collegiate swimmers our program has ever produced, ready, willing and able to carry on the phenomenal tradition of Georgia swimming and diving. Both Stefanie and Neil have been integral in our team’s success during their tenures, and I am excited to see how our teams continue to excel under their new leadership.”

Under Bauerle, Georgia swimming won seven national championships and finished in the top 10 50 times.

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