Sources inside the University of Georgia program have confirmed that Andrew Gemmell will be returning next year for what would-be his third year of NCAA swimming. Gemmell left the program mid-season last year to train at FAST in Fullerton, California which paid off for him with a spot on the World Championships team in the open water competition. In Shanghai at the World Championships, Gemmell took gold in the 5km team event (along with Sean Ryan and Ashley Twichell) and placed 5th in the individual 5km race.
This past week at the USA Swimming open water long course Nationals, Gemmell further cemented his progress with a big win in the men’s 1500 in 15:01.31, which was a best-time by 6 seconds. He also finished 4th in the 400 IM in 4:19, which is another event that he has a lot of history with in the pool, though the distance free seems to be his bread-and-butter at the Olympic level.
Gemmell’s return is a huge boost for the Bulldogs, who through graduation lost roughly two-thirds of their NCAA scoring from last season. Gemmell should be worth at least 35-40 individual points at NCAA’s next year, which will be badly needed if the Bulldogs hope to stay in the top 10. The NCAA field is going to be very deep next year, but Gemmell should be amongst those contending for an NCAA title.
This training situation does not necessarily rule Gemmell out for an Olympic bid in the 1500. The training situation at Georgia will be an awesome one on the men’s side, with NCAA 1650 runner-up Martin Grodzki, distance All-American Will Freeman, and incoming freshman Jared Markham comprising the best top-to-bottom distance group in the country (with due respect to Eddie Reese’s group in Austin).
No word yet on whether the program will use a redshirt on Gemmell or not.