WINTER PARK, Fla. (September 27, 2012) - Rollins faced the University of Florida on April, 24 1922 in the state's first-ever intercollegiate swim meet. The two schools will once again share the pool this weekend at the 2012 All-Florida Invitational.
The Tars and seven other teams will head to the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville for the season opening event. The three-day meet starts Friday, Sept. 28 with prelims at 10:00 a.m. and finals beginning at 7:00 p.m. Both Saturday and Sunday's prelims are set for 9:00 a.m. and the finals will take place at 4:00 p.m.
Rollins will be competing at the three-year old event for the first time while Florida Atlantic and North Florida have participated one other time. Florida, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida State, Miami and Nova Southeastern have participated in all three invitationals.
In that first swim meet 90 years ago, the Tars beat the Gators 32-18. From 1922-1943, Rollins swimming was known as the powerhouse of the South, led by head coaches William Russell Brewster (1920-23) and legend Fleetwood Peeples (1923-1942). The Tars in that era regularly competed against the other top teams in the area including UF, St. Pete JC, Florida Southern, Clemson, Miami, Tampa and Stetson.
The sport of swimming at Rollins was dropped to intramurals starting in 1942 due to the war effort and the formation of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which forced Clemson, Florida and Miami to cancel their schedule with the Tars.
Swimming remained an intramural activity after World War II until obtaining club status in the early 1980s. The sport became a varsity-NCAA Division II sponsored program in 1996 and has enjoyed continued success under veteran head coach Dr. Rich Morris.