Eleven UGA Swimmers Make National Team

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Eleven UGA Swimmers Make National Team

Jack Bauerle
Jack Bauerle

Continuing the strong program tradition of world-class swimmers, 11 current and former University of Georgia swimmers were named to the 2020-21 USA Swimming National Team Wednesday morning.

Juniors Andrew Abruzzo and Dakota Luther join incoming freshmen Maxine Parker and Luca Urlando on the roster, with all four qualifying for the second-consecutive year. The national team also includes Georgia alums Nic Fink, Hali Flickinger, Chase Kalisz, Jay Litherland, Melanie Margalis, Allison Schmitt and Olivia Smoliga,

Nine of the Bulldogs named to the team are currently coached by Tom Cousins Swimming and Diving Head Coach Jack Bauerle, joined by associate head coaches Stefanie Williams Moreno and Brian Smith. Additionally, former Emory swimmer Andrew Wilson, who trains with the Athens Bulldog Swim Club, was named to the team.

Abruzzo qualified for the team in both the 400- and 800-meter freestyle following a tremendous performance at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. Abruzzo won gold in both events with times of 3:48.41 and 7:54.70 respectively. Luther notched her spot in the 200-meter butterfly with a time of 2:07.76 that placed third at the Phillips 66 National Championships at Stanford.

Parker qualified for the team with a runner-up time of 24.75 in the 50-meter freestyle at the 2019 FINA World Junior Championships in Budapest. Urlando earned a place in the 200-meter freestyle with his Nationals time of 1:46.51, while leading the 200-meter butterfly group with a winning time of 1:53.84 at the TYR Pro Swim Series Clovis meet.

Elsewhere, Bulldog alumni posted the top qualifying times on the team in four separate events. Flickinger posted a time of 2:05.96 in the 200-meter fly in the prelims at the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, while also qualifying for the 200-meter backstroke with a mark of 2:08.36 at the 2019 Atlanta Classic. Margalis posted the top 400-meter IM time with a mark of 4:32.53 at the 2020 TYR Pro Swim Series Des Moines meet, in addition to qualifying for the 400-meter free, 100-meter breaststroke, and 200-meter IM.

On the men’s side, Kalisz ranks first in the 200-meter IM with his World Championships bronze medal time of 1:56.78, and Litherland tops the 400-meter with a Worlds silver medal mark of 4:09.22. Kalisz also qualified for the 400-meter IM with a time of 4:13.07 at the 2019 Toyota U.S. Open

In the women’s 200-meter freestyle, Schmitt posted the team’s second-best time of 1:56.01 at the TYR Pro Swim Series Knoxville meet. Smoliga was fourth in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 58.73 at the TYR Pro Swim Series Richmond meet. Rounding out the contingent, Fink ranks third in the 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2:08.16 that earned him a silver medal at the Pan-Am Games.

The 2020-2021 USA Swimming National Team is comprised of returning 2019-2020 National Team members and athletes that achieved a performance faster than the sixth-place time on the 19-20 roster before March 17, 2020. Additionally, a few athletes already on the 19-20 roster qualified in new events, and event rankings have been updated. For more information regarding the selection criteria, visit usaswimming.org.

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.