U.S. Olympian Gunnar Bentz will return to competition on Saturday in the University of Georgia’s dual meet against LSU – which will mark his first meet back since breaking his collarbone in 2017. Bentz suffered the injury after a fall from a motorized scooter in late September and had to undergo surgery, which resulted in about a 6 week recovery time.
Bentz hasn’t raced yet this season – the injury occurred on the morning of the team’s season-opener against Emory.
The senior is in his final year of collegiate eligibility and was set to be a key to Georgia’s team after the graduation of his training partner and World Champion Chase Kalisz. Bentz finished 4th in the 200 IM and 400 IM at last year’s NCAA Championship meet, and was also 3rd in the 200 fly, scoring 46 individual points. That made him the Bulldogs’ biggest individual point-scorer at the meet, responsible for over 25% of the team’s points (and over 33% of their 137 individual points).
Bentz was a member of Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio where he won a gold medal as a prelims-only member of the 800 free relay. He missed the team for the 2017 World Championships, but not by much: his highest finishes were 3rd in the 400 IM (behind only his Georgia teammates Kalisz and Jay Litherland), 4th in the 200 IM, and 4th in the 200 fly. In the 200 free, the event that got him his Olympic rings, Bentz was 6th in the B-Final at Worlds Trials.
A team spokesperson says that Bentz will swim the 200 free, 100 fly, and “maybe a relay.”
Even without him, the Georgia men have lost only 1 dual meet this season, a 179-121 defeat to Florida in October. The meet against LSU will begin at 11AM local time on Saturday in Athens, Georgia.
Picture of Bentz’s X-Ray is below.