Nicole Haislett

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Nicole Haislett
Personal information
Full name Nicole Lee Haislett Bacher
Nationality  United States
Born (1972-12-16) December 16, 1972 (age 41)
St. Petersburg, Florida
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight 140 lb (64 kg)
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Freestyle, individual medley
Club St. Pete Aquatics Club
College team University of Florida

Nicole Lee Haislett Bacher (born December 16, 1972), née Nicole Lee Haislett, is an American former competition swimmer who was an eight-time American national college champion and a three-time Olympic gold medalist.

Early years[edit]

Haislett was born in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1972.[1] She was a "water baby"—she learned to swim at 18 months old.[2][3] At the time, her parents merely wanted her to be comfortable in water, not intending that swimming would become her life focus.[3] She began to train with the St. Pete Aquatics Club at the age of 6.[4] Haislett attended Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, where she swam for the Lakewood Spartans high school swim team, winning four Florida high school state championships in two years.[2]

College swimming career[edit]

After graduating from high school, Haislett accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida,[4] where she swam for coach Mitch Ivey and coach Chris Martin's Florida Gators swimming and diving team in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition from 1990 to 1994.[5] As a Gator swimmer, she won NCAA national titles in the 200-yard freestyle for four consecutive years from 1991 to 1994, the 200-yard individual medley in 1993, and the 500-yard freestyle in 1994, and was a member of the Gators' NCAA-winning relay teams in the 4x100-yard freestyle in 1993 and the 4x100-yard medley relay in 1994.[5] She received twenty-eight All-American honors in four years—the maximum number possible.[2] In four years of swimming, she was undefeated in Southeastern Conference (SEC) competition,[4] and was recognized as the SEC Female Swimmer of the Year for four consecutive years from 1991 to 1994, and the SEC Female Athlete of the Year (all sports) in 1993 and 1994.[5]

She graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications in 1996.[4]

International swimming career[edit]

Haislett was the first American woman to defeat a swimmer from East Germany in the 100-meter freestyle since the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany; she did so at the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle, Washington.[6] At the 1991 World Aquatics Championships in Perth, Western Australia, Haislett won the 100-meter freestyle, and swam the anchor legs for the winning U.S. teams in the 4x100-meter freestyle and the 4x100-meter medley relays, ending the East German women's eighteen years of overwhelming dominance in the 100-meter freestyle at the world championships.[4]

At the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, Haislett won the 200-meter freestyle event with a time of 1:57.90 for her first Olympic gold medal.[1] She was a member of the winning U.S. team in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay, together with Jenny Thompson, Dara Torres and Angel Martino, which set a new world record in the event while winning the gold medal.[7][4] Haislett swam the freestyle leg in the preliminaries of the 4x100-meter medley relay to earn her third Olympic gold medal.[1] She also qualified for the 100-meter freestyle, finishing fourth in the final.[1]

Haislett was the first American woman to swim the 200-meter freestyle in under one minute, fifty-eight seconds (1:58), and held the American record until 2003, when it was broken by Lindsay Benko. She retired from competition swimming in 1995.[8]

Life after competition swimming[edit]

Haislett served as an assistant coach for the Florida Gators women's swim team under head coach Kevin Thornton from 1996 to 1997.[4][9] Afterward, she studied to be a chef at the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida, and she formerly worked as a dining room manager and an activities director at an assisted living community for seniors.[3][10] She has been married to Ricky Bacher, an executive chef, since 2003.[10] She was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 2004,[11][12] and the Florida Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.[10] Haislett and her husband have a daughter, Blake, who was born in 2006.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d, Olympic Sports, Athletes, Nicole Haislett. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Bob Chick, "Tampa Bay's All-Century Team: No. 5 Nicole Haislett," The Tampa Tribune (December 21, 1999). Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Joey Johnston, "Fame finds Nicole," The Tampa Tribune (May 20, 2005). Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Julian Pleasants, "Nicole Haislett, University of Florida Oral History Project, George A. Smathers Libraries, Gainesville, Florida (December 16, 1996). Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Florida Swimming & Diving 2013–14 Media Supplement, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 82, 83, 86, 90, 92, 93, 97, 99 (2013). Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  6. ^ Associated Press, "Goodwill Games; 'Guest' Takes Early Gold," The New York Times (July 22, 1990). Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  7. ^, Olympic Sports, United States Swimming at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Games. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  8. ^ Julie Deardorff, "Swimmer Haislett Retires," Chicago Tribune (July 26, 1995). Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  9. ^ Mike Dame, "Thornton Steps Up Into Role As UF Women's Swim Coach," Orlando Sentinel (March 27, 1996). Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c Dave Scheiber, "Fame takes a new form," The St. Petersburg Times (May 20, 2005). Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  11. ^ F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  12. ^ "Florida Holds 2004 Hall of Fame Banquet," (February 13, 2004). Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  13. ^ Dave Scheiber, "Q & A with Nicole Haislett Bacher," The St. Petersburg Times (July 20, 2008). Retrieved July 25, 2014.