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Kelly Fertel

Kelly Fertel

Kelly Fertel joined Poppell’s staff in May of 2022. Fertel, a native of Miami, Florida, comes to Columbia from the University of Florida where she was a stand-out student-athlete.

Fertel was a team captain, three-time NCAA All-American, and CSCAA Scholar All-American while representing the Florida Gators. She finished her career ranked fourth all-time in University of Florida history in both the 200 IM (1:55.46) and 400 IM (4:05.32). At the 2019 Phillips 66 National Championships, she captured a bronze medal as a member of the Gators 4×200 Free Relay, won the B-Final of the 200m IM with a 2:13.27, and placed 7th overall in the 400m IM with a time of 4:41.53. Internationally, Fertel represented Team USA at the 2017 Maccabiah Games in Israel bringing home a total of seven medals; five gold and 2 silver.

After the completion of her freshman year at Florida, Fertel was awarded the Tracy Caulkins Award given to the female freshman, based upon her performance at SEC’s and NCAAs, that exemplifies the competitive spirit of Tracy Caulkins, demonstrating dedication, tenacity and a great will to win. She was also twice awarded the Giovanni Linscheer Award, an honor given annually to the female student-athlete who contributed the most to the overall success of the Florida Swimming and Diving team. Fertel also served as Chair of the UF Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

Fertel spent one season competing for the Cali Condors in the International Swimming League (ISL) in Budapest, Hungary and graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications. Most recently, she has been pursuing a Master’s Degree in Health Education and Behavior at UF while serving as an Assistant Swimming Coach for Swim America Gainesville. Fertel has worked as a Radio Reporter for WUFT News in Gainesville and served as a Public Relations Volunteer and Production and Broadcasting Intern for the SEC Nation and the CMT Network.

“I’m extremely excited to have Kelly join our staff at South Carolina,” said Poppell. “As an All-American at Florida, she experienced success at the highest levels of both the SEC and NCAA and was a major factor in the Florida women’s team rise from the bottom half of the Southeastern Conference to three consecutive SEC Runner-Up finishes and a #1 National Dual Meet Ranking in 2019. As anyone that knows Kelly will tell you, she has a big personality with a lot of positive energy that I think will serve our team well. I see Kelly embracing the opportunity of being a relatable resource for both the men and women in our program as they seek to successfully navigate and balance the high achieving demands of today’s college student-athlete.”