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Chase Kalisz takes a breath after swimming laps. 2016 Olympian Chase Kalisz participated in practice and workouts adapted to COVID-19 with other Tokyo Olympic hopefuls on June 17, 2020, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

Wave II Olympic Trials are officially underway at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, and 25 former and current Bulldog swimmers are looking to claim a spot on the United States Tokyo 2021 team.

Georgia has placed a team member on the United States for every Olympics since Seoul in 1988, and that streak continues in 2021 as Chase Kalisz placed first in the men’s 400 individual medley final on opening night.

Kalisz was a silver medalist in the same event in 2016, and will likely be joined by teammate Jay Litherland who beat out Chase Foster in the final leg of the medley to place second overall, a strong position to qualify for Tokyo.

“For two guys to come back five years later and finish 1-2 in the same event is absolutely remarkable,” said head coach Jack Bauerle of Kalisz and Litherland. “We’re off to a great start.”

The women’s 400 individual medley sparked competition between former Bulldogs Hali Flickinger and Melanie Margalis, who was the top seed heading into the event. Flickinger likely clinched an Olympic berth after beating out Margalis by 0.12 seconds to take second place.

On day two, Nic Fink nearly finished first in the 100 breaststroke final as he found himself in a photo finish. Despite being 0.07 seconds off the winning time, Fink finished third in a dramatic race.

Rising sophomore Luca Urlando advanced to the 200 freestyle final after placing sixth in Monday’s semifinal. Urlando also holds a top seed in the 200 butterfly.

Olympic gold medalist Olivia Smoliga advanced to the 100 backstroke final on Tuesday after she posted the second-fastest time in her heat.

The Wave II trials continue through June 20 as more former and current Georgia swimmers look to make an Olympic appearance. Kalisz and Flickinger hold top seeds in the upcoming men’s 200 individual medley and the women’s 200 butterfly respectively.