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Parkersburg South’s MacGuire McDuff to swim for Gators

Patriot will join an NCAA?Division I?national powerhouse in Gainesville

Photos provided Parkersburg South junior MacGuire McDuff pumps himself up on the starting block during the 2019-20 W.Va. state tournament earlier this year in Morgantown. McDuff, just a junior, recently verbally commited to an NCAA Division I powerhouse in the University of Florida.

PARKERSBURG — Another of the city’s talented high school swimmers is extending his career to the collegiate level upon graduation.

Parkersburg South junior MacGuire McDuff, the state’s top 2021 swimming recruit according to the recruiting website collegeswimming.com, turned a dream into reality following his decision to swim for NCAA Division I program University of Florida.

“I always wanted to go there as a kid and it is a really accredited, elite school and very international. Sprint coach Stephen Jungbluth is a really nice guy and all around it is where I wanted to be,” said McDuff, who also had offers from WVU and Harvard.

Jungbluth presented more than nice table manners to the Patriot. The Gators’ associate head coach helping turn Caleb Dressel into an up and coming Olympic Games standout served as a lasting impression. Dressel’s list of accomplishments at the school would make almost any swimmer excited to learn from Jungbluth. Dressel won 10 national championship and set new NCAA, United States Open and UF records in the 100 free alongside being honored as the 2017-18 SEC Swimmer of the Year.

Jungbluth’s other coaching successes — he has helped 11 different athletes to 33 all-American honors — drew McDuff’s eyes as well.

McDuff takes his mark on the starting block before a state tournament race.

When the Patriot arrives on campus it won’t be the first time Jungbluth sees him, either. A sneak peek during a club meet this past December already prepped the Gator coach on what his incoming swimmer can do in the water.

“I swam pretty fast then met him after the meet. I am pretty good all around the board but sprinting I feel is my strongest stroke. Though I will swim whatever they like,” said McDuff.

If the Gators feel the Patriot suits them at different positions, McDuff said this wouldn’t be a problem.

His goals for next season include claiming the team records for the 100 Fly (owned by Jorge Rojas Sato) and the 50 Free (owned by Dominic Collins) thus giving him the South record in every individual event. These marks also give him a sterling resume in proving he can do what his college team asks of him.

His times in both events swimming for the YMCA Sharks club team suggest those times aren’t out of reach. “I feel confident and am just champin’ at the bit to get back in the water,” said McDuff.

Following his official signing in or after November, the Patriot will become the fourth city swimmer to suit up for a D-I program in the last five years.

McDuff’s commitment also arguably stands as the town’s biggest swimming story since Parkersburg High alumnus Tim Phillips made his decision to attend Ohio State University. The pressure is certainly on the Patriot.

Head coach Anthony Nesty’s Gators recently captured their eighth straight Southeastern Conference championship. This further helped them finish in the final rankings as one of the top 5 D-I programs for the ninth time in the past 10 years.

“I embrace the pressure and am super excited to be joining such a highly thought of program,” said McDuff.

His college choice also sees him leave his freshman belief of participating in the sport at the next level firmly in the past. “He and I created a bond and we would have serious conversations about what he wants to do with the sport,” said Parkersburg South head coach Ryan Radcliffe. “I asked him one day if he wanted to swim D-I and he told me he didn’t even like swimming that much. I will never forget the day he called me and told me he will be swimming for Florida.

“Everything has changed a lot from those early conversations. He really bought in to the fact the coaching staff saw the potential he could achieve and has eaten, breathed and lived swimming the last three years and loves it. We are looking forward to watching him grow after he leaves Parkersburg South.

“He has the tools and personality, but the biggest thing is his mindset and he has the right mentality. When you go D-I, swimming is your life, all you do is swim. He is strong and his technique is solid. He is talented and really has everything a kid could want to be able to compete and the D-I level.”

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