Highlighted by Olivia Smoliga’s gold medal and American record, the Georgia contingent had a strong showing at the FINA World Championships on Thursday in the Nambu International Aquatics Center.
Smoliga picked up a gold medal in the women’s 50-meter backstroke, Hali Flickinger took the silver in the women’s 200-meter butterfly, Melanie Margalis and Allison Schmitt earned silver on the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay, and Chase Kalisz claimed the bronze in the men’s 200-meter individual medley.
Smoliga, who capped her Georgia career in 2017, stopped the clock in 27.33 to lower her own American record of 27.43. Entering as the No. 5 seed for the finals, Smoliga edged Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros (27.44) and Russia’s Daria Vaskina (27.51) for the title. Earlier in the World Championships, Smoliga earned the bronze medal in the women’s 100-meter backstroke.
Flickinger placed second in the women’s 200-meter butterfly with a time of 2:06.95, trailing Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas (2:06.78) and leading fellow American Katie Drabot (2:07.04). Flickinger ended her Georgia career in 2016.
Margalis swam the third leg for the United States’ 4×200-meter freestyle relay during both finals and prelims. In the finals, Margalis and her teammates went 7:41.87 to eclipse the previous American record of 7:42.56, which Schmitt anchored in 2009. Australia used a world-record time of 7:41.50 to win, while Canada took third in 7:44.35. Both Australia and the United States were under the previous world record of 7:42.08 (China, 2009). Schmitt led off for the second-place Americans during prelims (7:51.58) to qualify for the medal. Margalis and Schmitt ended at Georgia in 2014 and 2013, respectively.
Kalisz reached the wall in 1:56.78 in the men’s 200-meter individual medley for third place. Japan’s Daiya Seto was first in 1:56.14 and Switzerland’s Jeremy Desplanches claimed second in 1:56.56. Kalisz ended his Georgia career in 2017.