Georgia will have a third American swimmer representing the university at this summer's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Rising senior Olivia Smoliga won the 100-meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska Tuesday evening, placing her in the Olympics. Smoliga won the event in 59.02 seconds, making her the third-fastest American ever to swim the 100 backstroke.
Her time ranks third all-time behind Missy Franklin (58.33) and Natalie Coughlin (58.94).
Smoliga joins Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland as Bulldogs participating in the Olympics, as they placed first and second in the 400-meter individual medley on Sunday.
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“It’s nearly impossible to control your emotions here,” Smoliga said in a statement. “When you have the Olympics on the line, it’s hard to stay calm. This is so cool. It’s an awesome feeling.”
Smoliga edged California's Kathleen Baker for the win. The two were practically even at the 50-meter split, Baker slightly ahead. Baker's second-place and Olympic-qualifying time was 59.29.
The three Georgia swimmers from the U.S. aren't the only Bulldogs heading to Rio de Janiero. Representing Georgia for Canada are Javier Acevedo, Brittany MacLean and Chantal Van Landeghem. Georgia's Matias Koski will participate in the Olympics for Finland.