Tampa Bay’s 10 Leading Ladies 2012: Brooke Bennett

November 26, 2013 | South Tampa Magazine | Categories: 10 Leading Women, Editorial, People | Tags: Bright House Sports Network, Brooke Bennett, Olympic swimmer

Brooke Bennett

Sports Reporter with Bright House Sports Network, fitness model and three-time gold medalist swimmer


Tampa Bay has been great to Brooke Bennett, the three-time gold medalist swimmer who was the top distance swimmer in the world during the mid 90s. Born and raised in Plant City, Brooke lives in Clearwater with her two dogs Indy and Peppermint and dedicates her weeks to reporting on the top high school football games in the Bay area as a sports reporter for Bright House Sports Network. Brooke may be retired from swimming but she dedicates much of her free time promoting the sport through the Swim Across America campaign and charity organizations such as Big Brother, Big Sisters and the Navy Seals Foundation.


What is one of your favorite charity events in Tampa Bay and why? Last spring I was the honorary chair for the Inaugural Swim Across America-Tampa Bay. In our first year, we raised more than $100,000 for Moffitt’s Melanoma Cancer Research Center. We’re currently in preparation for SAA’s second year and I will return as the honorary chair. The event will take place on Clearwater Beach May 18, 2013. I have been apart of SAA since the late 90’s, doing swims in Boston and New York. In 25 years, they’ve raised over 40 million dollars in cancer research.

As a leading lady, what is one of your proudest accomplishments? It is easy to say that competing in two Olympic games (1996 and 2000) and winning three Olympic Gold Medals is by far the most accomplishing thing I’ve ever done. However it does not classify the most rewarding. Working with Bright House Sports Network and covering high school sports is a reward and honor. To watch the most talented kids in the Tampa Bay area strive to reach their dreams is simply a joy. And if along the way I can mentor them into becoming the best they can—along with creating a great story for them to reflect back to later in life—it puts a smile on my face every day.

How do you like to unwind? A good glass of wine—Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir

Who do you most admire in Tampa Bay? Dick Vitale, who is an amazing advocate to sports, youth sports and raising awareness/money for children with cancer; and Rowdy Gaines from Winter Haven, a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist from the 1984 LA Summer Games in swimming and the voice of swimming.

What advice would you pass on to younger generations? If you want to be a champion, you have to work for it. Nothing is given to you in life… a participation medal… I don’t believe in that! Earn it!

What’s an ideal Friday night for you? Standing on the sidelines of a high school football game

Name one thing most people wouldn’t know about you. I wanted to be a veterinarian

Who would you pick for a dream date? I’d love to have one more lunch with my grandfather. My mom’s dad, James Lane, called me a “waterbabi” and convinced my parents that I need swim lessons. He was, and still is, my biggest supporter and fan. He passed away April 27, 1996, just months before I won my first Olympic medal. But I will never forget being able to look up in the stands at the Olympic trials and see his face when I qualified. He continues to drive me everyday.

Favorite album of all time: Top Gun soundtrack

Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Sheena the Warrior Princess


Grandma’s Rabbit Stew

Preheat oven to 375

Cooking time 40mins

9×9 pan



Whole Rabbit or small whole chicken

2-3 cups mixed veggies (carrot, broccoli, cauliflower) fresh or frozen

2 cups chicken stock

1 bay leaf

2-3 tbsp of whole-wheat flour

2 tsp salt-free poultry seasoning

2-3 cloves of garlic (chopped)

¼ cup olive oil

1 onion chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1-2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms


For biscuits

2 cups of whole-wheat flour

2 tsp baking soda

1-2 tbsp parsley flakes

1 tsp garlic powder

4 tbsp butter (cut into little cubes)

1 cup original unsweetened almond milk


To prepare

In pot, put whole rabbit or chicken with 4 cups of water, salt-free seasoning, bay leaf. Cook until meat falls off the bone. Remove meat from bones (shred meat)

In skillet, cook veggies, onion and mushrooms in olive oil until tender. Add in Chicken Stock and 2-3 tbsp of whole-wheat flour, cook until thick. Add in meat and mix together. Pour into baking pan

In separate bowl, mix biscuits. (Do not over stir the dough). Once it is mixed, toss a little flour on counter top and roll out dough to about 1/2 inch thickness.

With biscuit cutter, cut out dough and place biscuits on top of stew.

Place in oven for 40mins or until biscuits are brown on top