Andrew Wilson just keeps swimming (and placing himself on the podium at the highest levels of competitive swimming).
The former Emory swimmer, who graduated in 2017 from the College, won two gold medals in the 200m and 100m breaststroke this week at the 2017 World University Games in Taipei, Taiwan. He also swam the breaststroke leg of the men’s 4x100m medley relay for the U.S. team, which claimed gold in the event and brought Wilson’s medal count up to three for the meet.
The biennial World University Games, known internationally as Universiade, connects more than 9,000 students from more than 170 countries in an Olympic-style sporting event, according to International University Sports Federation’s website. The event invites the world’s top student athletes to compete.
In his preliminary heat of the 200m breaststroke, Wilson finished in 2:08.37, the ninth fastest time in the world this year. His performance set a new meet record for the 200m breaststroke, according to World University Games. Wilson then claimed gold with a winning time of 2:08.45 in the final heat.
Notably, Wilson defeated Kazakh breaststroke swimmer and 2016 Olympic champion Dmitriy Balandin in this event. Emory Swimming and Diving Head Coach Jon Howell attributed Wilson’s victory to his incredible ability to persevere, particularly after he failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.
“[Wilson] is very hard on himself when he fails, but he fails really well,” Howell said. “He has a moment where he is really upset and disappointed, but he is always able to circle back and really reflect on what he could do better. I think the failure piece for him is a big part of his success because he … is always better after a period where he feels like he falls short.”
Wilson finished in 1:00.15 in the final 100m breaststroke, tying for gold with Belarusian swimmer Ilya Shymanovich.
Wilson also finished in fourth place in the 50m breaststroke in 27.57 seconds. In the 4×100 medley relay, Wilson provided an impressive 59.29 split in the breastroke leg. The team finished with a time of 3:33.27, 1.58 seconds ahead of runner-up Russia.
Wilson’s pursuit for success has influenced the Emory swim team’s culture, indicated in part by last season’s Division III National Championship victory, said team captain and teammate Cooper Tollen (18C).
“[Wilson was] a big part of why I wanted to come to Emory,” Tollen said. “He was a brilliant guy … and he made sure the team knew to [take both swimming and] academics very seriously.”
Wilson graduated with a degree in applied mathematics and physics and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in computational mathematics at the University of Texas. He will continue to train full time with the Texas Aquatics swim club, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“He has really redefined what is possible in Division III swimming,” Howell said, citing Wilson’s excellence in academics and athletics. “The level that he has hit is really unprecedented for a Division III swimmer and, combined with his academic achievements, is a pretty unique accomplishment.”
Wilson could not be reached for comment by publication time.