Former Emory swimming standout Andrew Wilson made history Monday night, becoming the first Division III swimmer to ever qualify for the Olympics.
In an incredible three-way finish in the 100 Breaststroke, Wilson accomplished a goal years in the making as he earned a qualifying spot on Team USA for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. A photo finish between Wilson, Michael Andrew and Nic Fink saw all three swimmers touch the wall just seven one-hundredths of a second apart. Andrew captured the top spot with a time of 58.73 while Wilson finished just 0.01 seconds behind him at 58.74 for a new personal best. Fink, Wilson’s training partner at Athens Bulldog Swimming Club, finished third at 58.80.
Wilson’s time Monday night made him the 15th-fastest man in the history of the event and the fourth-fastest American ever.
The Bethesda, Maryland, native qualified for a second Olympic event on Thursday night as he placed second in the final for the 200 Breaststroke with a time of 2:08.32, just behind first place finisher Nic Fink, who posted a time of 2:07.55.
Wilson enjoyed an illustrious career with the Eagles, leading the men’s program to its first-ever national championship in 2017. Over his career, he was a two-time CSCAA National Swimmer of the Year, a 10-time national champion, 17-time All-American, two-time UAA Swimmer of the Year, 15-time UAA Champion, 20-time All-UAA finisher, 14-time UAA Athlete of the Week, three-time CSCAA Scholar All-American, a two-time Academic All-American of the Year and still holds Division III records in five events.
“Emory is where I got really serious about swimming … I was just not very competitive coming out of high school,” Wilson said in an interview in 2015, after he qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials. “But that changed at Emory.”
After taking a year off of his studies at Emory to train with Longhorn Aquatics at the University of Texas at Austin in preparation for the 2016 Olympic swim trials, Wilson fell just shy of making the Olympic team that year, placing fifth in the 100 Breaststroke and fourth in the 200 Breaststroke. He returned to Emory in 2017 for his senior year, graduating with honors with degrees in applied math and physics.