USA Swimming has announced the University of Georgia as the winner of the new Collegiate Impact Award, which recognizes the top-contributing school on the U.S. Olympic swimming team in Tokyo last summer.
The Bulldogs boasted seven swimmers on the last Olympic swimming roster, more than any other program.
Chase Kalisz and Georgia teammate Jay Litherland went 1-2 in the men’s 400-meter IM on the opening night. By the end of the meet, alum Allison Schmitt had secured a silver in the women’s 800 freestyle relay and a bronze in the 400 free to push her career total to 10 medals. She now has the most Olympic hardware in Bulldogs’ program history and the fourth-most among American female swimmers.
Hali Flickinger also added a pair of medals to her haul with a pair of bronzes in the 400 IM and 200 fly. Olivia Smoliga won bronze in the 400 free, while alums Nic Fink and Gunnar Bentz both reached finals in their events. Current sophomore Dune Coetzee also set an African record as a member of the women’s 800 free relay team for South Africa.
Georgia’s impact was multidimensional as former head coach Jack Bauerle served on the U.S. Olympic coaching staff for the fourth time in his career. Two of his pro training group members medaled: Andrew Wilson took gold in the 400 medley relay and Natalie Hinds brought home a bronze in the 400 free relay.
“The NCAA system is an incredibly important stepping-stone for so many swimmers’ competitive success and for the success of American swimming on the world stage,” said Tim Hinchey III, president and CEO of USA Swimming. “The exceptional quality of coaching and training support at college campuses and USA Swimming clubs is unmatched across the globe. Coach Jack Bauerle and his cadre of athletes were a medal-winning force in Tokyo.”
Bulldogs athletic director Josh Brooks is slated to accept the award during the Team USA Collegiate Recognition Awards scheduled for Dec. 6 in Las Vegas, in conjunction with the National Football Foundation’s 64th Annual Awards.
“I am honored to accept the 2020 USA Swimming Impact Award, which recognizes the tremendous achievements of the Georgia Swimming and Diving programs,” Brooks said. “The University of Georgia is a leader in training some of the very best athletes in the world. This award pays tribute to the storied tradition of our Swimming and Diving teams under the leadership of the legendary Jack Bauerle and current head coaches Stefanie Williams Moreno and Neil Versfeld.”
Last month, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) revealed a collaboration with the National Football Federation to “celebrate the role football plays in supporting varsity Olympic and Paralympic sport opportunities on campus.”
Last summer in Tokyo, 91 percent of the U.S. Olympic swimming team competed collegiately.
“The collegiate athletics system is essential to growing and keeping sport strong in our country,” USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland said. “Athletes who competed collegiately were the foundation of Team USA’s success in Tokyo and Beijing. We’re excited to honor the leaders who foster these sport opportunities and support student-athletes on campus.”
Georgia is among eight NGB Collegiate Impact Award winners that will be honored for their sport-specific contributions at the past two Olympics in Tokyo and Beijing.
- 2020 USA Diving Collegiate Impact Award: University of Texas
- 2020 USA Fencing Collegiate Impact Award: University of Notre Dame
- 2022 U.S. Ski & Snowboard Collegiate Impact Award: University of Utah
- 2020 USA Softball Collegiate Impact Award: University of California, Los Angeles
- 2020 USA Swimming Collegiate Impact Award: University of Georgia
- 2020 USA Track & Field Collegiate Impact Award: University of Oregon
- 2020 USA Water Polo Collegiate Impact Award: Stanford University
- 2020 USA Wrestling Collegiate Impact Award: Pennsylvania State University
“The NCAA collegiate sports system has long provided our nation’s best and brightest with incredible opportunities to showcase their gifts not only on the field of play, but also in the classroom,” said Rich Bender, USA Wrestling executive director and USOPC board member. “This system is the backbone for competitive success for Team USA, a system that truly does provide athletes with the opportunity to reach their full athletic and human potential.”
In addition to the sport-specific awards, the USOPC also honored colleges for their overall contributions to Team USA’s success. Stanford won the top honor for Tokyo.
Team USA Collegiate Impact Award Class of 2020
In Tokyo, 475 U.S. Olympians and 122 U.S. Paralympians from 223 schools competed collegiately during their journey to Team USA. The inductees into the Team USA Collegiate Impact Award Class of 2020 together helped lead to the success of 70 U.S. athletes at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and 20 U.S. athletes at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. These four schools alone had 52 athletes medal for their school communities and country. The Class of 2020 is comprised of:
- Olympic Gold Award: Stanford University; 35 U.S. Olympians and 19 U.S. medalists
- Olympic Silver Award: University of California, Los Angeles; 21 U.S. Olympians and 14 U.S. medalists
- Olympic Bronze Award: University of Florida; 14 U.S. Olympians and 10 U.S. medalists
- Paralympic Gold Award: University of Illinois; 20 U.S. Paralympians and nine U.S. medalists
Team USA Collegiate Impact Award Class of 2022
Last winter in Beijing, Team USA was comprised of 85 Olympians and 17 Paralympians from 54 schools. The four Team USA Collegiate Impact Award Class of 2022 honorees helped develop 22 U.S. athletes at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and four U.S. athletes at the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. Twenty American athletes came home with medals. The Class of 2022 is comprised of:
- Olympic Gold Award: University of Minnesota; 12 U.S. Olympians and eight U.S. medalists
- Olympic Silver Award: University of Wisconsin; five U.S. Olympians and five U.S. medalists
- Olympic Bronze Award: Boston College; five U.S. Olympians and three U.S. medalists
- Paralympic Gold Award: University of New Hampshire; four U.S. Paralympians and four U.S. medalists