Almost three dozen current and former University of Florida will be in Rio de Janeiro when the 2016 Olympic Games begin this week.
UF qualified 32 athletes for the Olympic Games -- 11 representing the United States and 21 representing a combined 16 additional countries. UF is one of 10 universities to send at least 10 athletes for Team USA, with most of the school’s athletes competing in the pool or on the track.
Highlighting the group are jumpers Christian Taylor and Will Claye, who look to go one-two in the triple for the second straight Olympics. Taylor set the United States record in the triple jump with a 18.21-meter leap at the 2015 World Championships, a mere .08 meters off Jonathan Edwards’ 21-year-old world record and a .40-meter improvement over his jump that won gold at the 2012 Olympics.
Tony McQuay and Pembroke Pines native Arman Hall are part of the 4x400 relay group, and Kerron Clement will compete in a stacked 400-meter hurdles field. Long jumper Marquis Dendy would have been the sixth UF track and field athlete on Team USA at the Olympics, but he announced Friday that he withdrew due to an injury.
Four swimmers will be donning red, white and blue. Among them are three repeat Olympians: Ryan Lochte, Elizabeth Beisel and Conor Dwyer. Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist heading into Rio, will compete in the 200-meter individual medley and 4x200-meter relay, while Dwyer will compete in both the 200- and 400-meter freestyle as well as the 4x200 relay. Beisel is competing in the 400-meter individual medley.
The lone UF newcomer in the pool is 19-year-old Caeleb Dressel, a two-time NCAA champion who broke the world records for the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races during his sophomore year. Dressel will compete in the 100-meter freestyle and the 4x100-meter freestyle relay.
Opposite hitter Kelly Murphy, a first-time Olympian and four-time All-American in college, rounds out the Team USA athletes and expects to play a heavy role on a USA women’s volleyball team looking for its first gold medal at the Olympics.