Georgia head coach Jack Bauerle has been chosen as an assistant coach for the United States Olympic Team, according to an announcement on Sunday by USA Swimming.
Bauerle will serve on the men’s staff at the Rio Games, where the swimming portion will take place Aug. 6-13. This will be Bauerle’s third appointment with the United States Olympic Team. He served as the women’s head coach in 2008 and as a women’s assistant coach in 2000. Bauerle attended the 2004 and 2012 Games as a personal coach.
“Any time I get to represent the USA and UGA at the Olympics, it’s a real honor,” Bauerle said. “I am absolutely elated to be chosen. I’m very thankful and I’m excited. It will be a busy time for all of us, but we’re going to make a lot of special memories.”
During the United States Olympic Trials that ended on Sunday, eight swimmers with ties to Bauerle’s program qualified for the Games. Hali Flickinger, Melanie Margalis, Allison Schmitt, Olivia Smoliga and Amanda Weir made it for the women, while Gunnar Bentz, Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland punched their tickets for the men.
“This appointment is a tribute to our kids who did so well at the Trials,” Bauerle said. “I’m so excited that I’ll get to be around all of them as they experience the Olympics. Whether it’s your first time or your last time, it gives you a lump in your throat. We’ve been together through the training process to this point and we’ll keep training over the next month. I expect our kids will have good performances in Rio. I could not be happier with how we did at the Trials. Seeing the looks on their faces when they realized they had fulfilled their Olympic dreams, well, that’s why we coach.”
Eight American swimmers at the Games is the high-water mark for the Georgia program, eclipsing the seven that qualified in 2000 and 2012. Counting Canadians Brittany MacLean, Chantal Van Landeghem and Javier Acevedo and Finland’s Matias Koski, Georgia will have 12 swimmers in Rio. That is third most in program history, trailing only the 15 of 2012 and the 13 of 2000.
Schmitt and Weir will be making their third Olympic appearances, while MacLean and Koski each will be going for the second time. Flickinger, Margalis, Smoliga, Van Landeghem, Bentz, Kalisz, Litherland and Acevedo will be making their Olympic debuts.
Bentz’s selection to the United States team as a 4×200-meter relay swimmer became official on Sunday, though it had been assumed since he took fifth in the 200-meter freestyle on June 28.
“Gunnar is one of our country’s surprises,” Bauerle said. “He came here in the 200 and 400 IM and in the 200 fly, but his 200 free started growing this summer. He’s in such great shape that he can swim anything right now. He’s a tremendous competitor. He stands up and races hard every time. He knows how to beat people at the end of the race.”
Bauerle said the Americans will hold training camps in San Antonio July 12-20 and in Atlanta July 22-31. The opening ceremony in Rio will be Aug. 5. The July 30 session at Georgia Tech will be open to the public from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Borrowing a familiar line from Georgia football coach Kirby Smart, Bauerle said with a laugh, “Seeing 93,000 Bulldog fans in the stands that day would make us all really happy.”