It’s always great to be a Georgia Bulldog, but this week was extra special.
Georgia athletics sent six athletes to American Olympic teams, starting with Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland. The duo qualified for the U.S. men’s swimming team after finishing first and second, respectively, in the 400-meter individual medley Sunday night. Kalisz even garnered praise from all-time great Michael Phelps after the event.
Olivia Smoliga kept it going Tuesday when she won the women’s 100-meter backstroke competition. Smoliga, a rising senior at UGA, posted a time of 59.02. That’s the third-best mark in the event’s history, bested only by Natalie Coughlin (58.94) and Missy Franklin (58.33). Franklin finished seventh in the event, and she praised Smoliga after it was over.
The Bulldogs were represented outside the water, too. Brittany Rogers earned a spot on the Canadian gymnastics team with an impressive performance this week at Canada’s Olympic selection camp. This is the second time Rogers will compete for the Canadian squad, as she previously competed in the 2012 Olympics in London.
Georgia gymnastics coach Dana Durante lauded Rogers’ accomplishments, and said she was especially proud of Rogers qualifying for the Olympics for a second time.
“Her determination to reach for the stars when virtually only a handful of people have ever done what she has accomplished (as a two-time Olympian) is amazing,” Durante said in a statement released by UGA. “So many times the world is about telling us what we can and can’t do based on what people have done before us. I love when people are able to break that mold and push through the barriers set for us.”
Former Bulldog swimmers Allison Schmitt and Melanie Margalis clinched a spot on the U.S. women’s swimming team Wednesday evening. Schmitt posted a time of 1:56.72 in the 200-meter freestyle to finish fourth. Though she didn’t win, Schmitt’s time was good enough to net her a relay spot.
Margalis finished second in the 200-meter individual medley and cashed in a spot on Team U.S.A.. She completed the event in 2:10.11 to back up her time of 1:57.65 earlier in the day in the 200-meter freestyle.
Hali Flickinger also qualified for Rio. Flickinger placed second in the 200-meter butterfly Thursday in Omaha, Nebraska. She completed the event in 2:07.50, beaten only by Camille Adams’ 2:06.80.
Afterwards, Flickinger said she was glad to have Adams by her side in the Olympics.
“I’ve been racing with Camille for so long, and I am so happy to be going to Rio with her,” Flickinger said. “I’m just so excited. I can’t believe I’m going to the Olympics.”
These Bulldogs may not be the last ones to reach the Olympics. Kendal Williams, Devon Williams and Christian Harrison will represent Georgia’s men’s track and field team in the track and field U.S. Olympic Trials.
Keturah Orji, Kendell Williams and Mady Fagan will represent the women’s track and field team. Georgia’s representatives will begin competing today.
Keep checking Dawn of the Dawg for updates on the track and field athletes’ showings in the trials, and for updates on any news concerning Georgia’s athletes competing in the Olympics.
The Olympics are set to begin August 5. Bulldog nation wishes all of these athletes well.