4 Things You May Not Know About Olympian Jay Litherland

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick


Editorial Coverage Sponsored By FINIS

By Cody Evans, Swimming World College Intern

Jay Litherland may be the name you thought you’d never see on the Olympic roster. The 20-year-old Georgia Bulldog trained with Bob Bowman leading up to the 2016 Olympic Trials. He raced two of the toughest competitors in the sport, Michael Phelps and Chase Kalisz, on a daily basis. This paid off when he was pitted against one of the most tenacious IMers in swimming history at the Trials, Ryan Lochte.

Georgia Bulldogs teammates have said that no one can finish a race like Jay Litherland. So we rest assured that he’ll be ready to hunt Olympians down in that final 50 in Rio.

Here are a few fun facts to help you get better acquainted with this Olympic rookie…

1. Litherland has a huge support system.


Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

Jay swims for the University of Georgia, just like fellow 400 IM Olympian, Chase Kalisz. He will be joining seven past and present Georgia Bulldogs this summer on the US Olympic Team. The Bulldogs were all thrilled to have Kalisz and Litherland make the team– the whole cheering squad erupted with excitement as Kalisz and Litherland finished first and second! Jay’s two brothers are also Bulldogs and huge supporters.

2. He’s a triplet!

Jay, Mick and Kevin Litherland.

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Jay has two brothers, Kevin and Mick. The triplets grew up swimming for the Dynamo Swim Club in Atlanta. Now all three of them go to University of Georgia. Who’s who? Can you tell the difference?

3. He’s very cultured.

Jay Litherland World University Games 2015

Photo Courtesy: Gwangju Summer Universiade Organizing Committee

Litherland has citizenship in three different countries: the United States, New Zealand and Japan. He also speaks Japanese. Along with having citizenship in multiple places, he has also had great international experience through swimming, which will help him at the Games. He’s competed in Dubai at the World Junior Championships in 2013 and most recently in 2015 at Summer Universiade in Dubai where he won gold in the 400 IM.

4. He beat out an Olympic champion.

Ryan Lochte Pan Pacs 2014

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr

Going into Olympic Trials, Litherland was seeded third behind Kalisz and Lochte in the 400 IM. It was not going to be easy for him to make the team. Ryan Lochte was in first for half the race, but then Kalisz took the lead through the breaststroke. Litherland then fought right until the end, catching up and beating out Lochte in the last 15 meters of the race to claim second place. Litherland surprised everyone by not only making the Olympic team but also by beating out the reigning Olympic champion, Ryan Lochte.

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Jacinda Sams Cicogna
Jacinda Sams Cicogna
7 years ago

Awesome! Go Jay!

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