The Blue Dolfins swim team has been training swimmers in Winter Park since 1972. Founded by the legendary Harry Meisel, the Blue Dolfins swam at several local pools, but found a home at the Rollins College pool for almost two decades where Harry’s son Kevin Meisel began assist coaching.
A Tradition of Excellence
The Blue Dolfins have helped countless swimmers achieve their dreams of collegiate swimming, and at every Olympic Games since 1984, a Blue Dolfins swimmer has competed at the US Olympic Trials. In fact the Blue Dolfins saw their first Olympian, Jilen Siroky, compete at the 1996 Olympics for Team USA.
(Fact: Less than 1% of all registered, competitive swimmers qualify for the US Olympic Trials.)
With Winter Park as its home base, the Blue Dolfins were the feeder program for Winter Park High School, giving birth to an unrivaled high school dynasty, which won the boys high school state champions 14 times and girls high school state championship 12 times.
With Harry’s passing, though, the Winter Park branch of the Blue Dolfins receded, giving rise the Oviedo branch.
In the early 1990s, Blue Dolfins alum Coach Charlie Rose continued on and expanded the Blue Dolfins team to Oviedo, where we have a large branch of swimmers who train at the 50-meter pool there. The Oviedo branch has become the premiere swim team in the East Orlando area, feeding many of the high school swim teams. In fact, under Charlie’s watch for the past twenty years, Oviedo High School has become a powerhouse in high school swimming, winning the 2018 FHSAA State Championship.
Meanwhile back in Winter Park, Kevin began to focused solely on developing young swimmers, those twelve and under, becoming recognized as one of the very best stroke coaches in the country.
Winter Park High School was also looking to return to its once dominant position in high school swimming, and so they asked Joe Auer to coach the high school team. A Winter Park High School alumni and seasoned club coach, Joe was his high school team’s captain and helped lead the Wildcats to three consecutive state titles. He was also a 9-time high school All-American and won eight state titles before heading to swim for the University of Florida under legendary coach Randy Reese. Joe was later inducted into the Winter Park Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
Joe agreed to return, but only if he could revive the Winter Park branch of the Blue Dolfins to give a proper feeder program for the Wildcats. With a full developmental club program now in place, the Blue Dolfins Winter Park are working to provide Winter Park swimmers with the best opportunity possible to reach their full potential while creating great memories, making friends, and learning life lessons along the way.