The University of Georgia Swimming and Diving team has 13 former or current members heading to the Summer Olympic Games in London. That ties UGA with University of California Berkley for having the most members on this year’s U.S. team.
UGA will be well-represented in London, but this isn’t the first time team members have made it to the Olympics.
In 2008, 14 current or former Bulldogs participated in the Olympics in Beijing.
UGA Coach Jack Bauerle was the head coach for the U.S. women’s
Olympic team that year. He also served as an assistant coach for the U.S. team in 2000 at the games in Sydney, Australia.
He admits that helped get more UGA athletes to the Olympics.
“It is a different mindset. It is a different way of coaching and it’s a different level of expectations you have to put out there. The kids have to dream very large and very big. There’s a point in their careers where you have to help instill a lot of confidence, because the ones that really make this team are the ones that are very, very confident.”
He says the UGA men’s team is perennially in the top ten American teams, while their women’s team has been first or second in the nation for the last 10 out of 14 years.
“Success breeds success. And the people that want to come in want to be as much a part of it as anyone who’s already there. So you have a pretty good competition on a day to day basis, and competition really makes people what they are.”
Six members of this year’s US swimming and diving team are current or former UGA team members. They are Chris Colwill, Andrew Gemmell, Kara Lynn Joyce, Allison Schmitt, Shannon Vreeland and Amanda Weir.
Yousef Alaskari will compete on the team for Kuwait. Matias Koski was named to Finland's Olympic team. Brittany MacLean will represent Canada. Sarah Poewe will compete for Germany. Tryden Prinsloo and Wendy Trott made the team for South Africa. And Ediz Yildrimer will represent Turkey at the Olympics.
Bauerle says he’s excited to go to London to cheer them all on.
The opening ceremonies for the Summer Olympics in London take place on July 27th.