Highlighted by Olivia Smoliga’s gold medal and American record, the Georgia contingent had a strong showing at the FINA World Championships on Thursday, July 25, in Gwangju, South Korea.
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 4x200-meter freestyle relay, and Chase Kalisz claimed the bronze in the men’s 200-meter individual medley.
Smoliga, who finished her Georgia career in 2017, entered as the No. 5 seed for the finals, and edged Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros and Russia’s Daria Vaskina for the title. Earlier in the World Championships, Smoliga earned the bronze medal in the women’s 100-meter backstroke.
Flickinger — who exhausted her Georgia eligibility in 2016 — placed second in the women’s 200-meter butterfly with a time of 2:06.95. She trailed Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas and leading fellow American Katie Drabot.
Margalis swam the third leg for the United States’ 4x200-meter freestyle relay during both finals and prelims. In the finals, Margalis and her teammates went 7:41.87 to overtake the previous American record of 7:42.56, which Schmitt anchored in 2009. Schmitt led off for the second-place Americans during prelims (7:51.58) to qualify for the medal. Schmitt and Margalis completed their collegiate careers at Georgia in 2013 and 2014.
Kalisz reached the wall in 1:56.78 in the men’s 200-meter individual medley for third place. Japan’s Daiya Seto finished in first and Switzerland’s Jeremy Desplanches claimed second. Kalisz ended his Georgia career in 2017.