Georgia’s Olivia Smoliga won the women’s 100-meter backstroke at the United States Olympic Trials on Tuesday to qualify for the Rio Games.
Smoliga, a rising senior, posted a winning time of 59.02 to punch her ticket to the Olympics, which will be held Aug. 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Smoliga became the third-fastest female American ever in the event, trailing only Missy Franklin’s 58.33 and Natalie Coughlin’s 58.94.
Smoliga is the third American swimmer from Georgia qualified for the Olympics. She will join Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland, who finished first and second in the 400-meter individual medley on Sunday. Georgia also has Olympians in Canada’s Javier Acevedo, Brittany MacLean and Chantal Van Landeghem and Finland’s Matias Koski.
“It’s nearly impossible to control your emotions here,” Smoliga said. “When you have the Olympics on the line, it’s hard to stay calm. This is so cool. It’s an awesome feeling.”
In other events on Tuesday:
• Gunnar Bentz came in fifth in the 200-meter freestyle with a time of 1:47.33. Bentz may have worked himself into an Olympic relay position with that effort. That announcement will come later this week from USA Swimming.
• Allison Schmitt (1:57.05) and Melanie Margalis (1:57.35) came in third and fifth, respectively, in the 200-meter freestyle semifinals to advance to Wednesday’s final.
• Pace Clark took second in 1:56.27, Kalisz was fourth in 1:56.48 and Bentz claimed fifth in 1:56.82 in the 200-meter butterfly semifinals to advance to Wednesday’s final.
• Margalis came in second in 2:10.41 and Emily Cameron finished eighth in 2:13.36 in the 200-meter individual medley semifinals to reach Wednesday’s final.
The Olympic Trials will continue on Wednesday and will conclude on Sunday.