Georgia is perhaps most well-known for its accomplishments on the football field between the hedges, but Athens is also host to some of the fiercest competitors in the swimming arena as well. Olivia Smoliga, Jay Litherland, and Chase Kalisz proved that when they snatched a spot on the United States Olympic team after making their respective cuts at the Olympic Trials.
Smoliga took first in the 100-meter backstroke after finishing in 59.02 seconds, making her the third best all-time behind swimming legend Missy Franklin (58.33) and Natalie Coughlin (58.94).
Kalisz and Litherland edged out former Florida Gator and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte after they took first and second in the 400-individual medley where Kalisz finished in 4:09.54 and Litherland in 4:11.02. Lochte took third and another Bulldog, Gunnar Bentz, finished fourth.
Kalisz opted to red shirt for his senior year at Georgia in order to focus on training for the Olympics where he worked side-by-side with swimmers like Michael Phelps. That decision worked in his favor and Phelps was one of the first to congratulate Kalisz when he hopped out of the pool.
Smoliga, Litherland, and Kalisz are the only Bulldogs on the U.S. Olympic team, but Javier Acevedo, Brittany MacLean, and Chantel Van Landegham will represent Canada, and Matias Koski will represent Finland.
The Olympic trials continue until July 3 and are hosted in Omaha, Nebraska.