Smoliga verbally commits to swim at Georgia
Glenbrook South's Olivia Smoliga holds her hands to her heart after breaking her one day old record in the 50 yard freestyle, lowering it to 22.55, at the IHSA Girls Swimming State Finals on Friday, Nov 18 at New Trier. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Steve Iida never pushed Olivia Smoliga toward any college during the standout swimmer’s recruitment.
But Iida, a coach at the Glenview Titan Aquatic Club, was happy to hear the Glenbrook South senior picked the University of Georgia over USC and Texas.
“I didn’t tell her which one was the best or anything like that,” Iida said. “I strongly pointed out the positives and negatives of each school. I do think she will fit right in at Georgia.”
The Bulldogs are one of the top programs in the country and have been for decades under coach Jack Bauerle. Georgia has won the last three SEC championships and has been the runner-up in the country the past two seasons. The Bulldogs won the national title in 2005.
Bauerle, the program’s coach since 1979, has won four national championships and seven conference titles.
Led by Allison Schmitt, the Bulldogs were well-represented in pool at the London Games. Schmitt won three gold medals, one silver and one bronze competing for the United States.
Smoliga visited all three colleges over the past couple of months before verbally committing to Bauerle and the Bulldogs on Saturday.
Already a world-class swimmer, Smoliga, who nearly qualified for the Olympics this summer, owns four state championships and looks to add to her haul Nov. 16-17 at Evanston.
Smoliga recently was honored as the state’s female swimmer of the year. Loyola graduate and Olympic gold medalist Conor Dwyer earned the same award for males.