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Team USA's swimmer from Emory has a passion for applied math

Wilson is the first swimmer to represent Emory University at the Olympics and the first Division III swimmer to make the Olympic team.

ATLANTA — Not many Olympians plan to get a master's in math modeling and scientific computing from Oxford University after competing on the global stage. Andrew Wilson, however, always excelled in school -- it's one of his passions. After competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he plans on continuing what he started at Emory University.

The 27-year-old swimmer was a double major in applied math and had a 3.96 GPA at Emory. When he arrived there, Wilson was one of the worst swimmers on the Division III team.

His key to success? Practice and incredible coaching. 

"I don't think there is this secret in swimming; it's pretty straightforward if you do the work -- you are going to see it pay off," Wilson said. 

His former coach at Emory, Jon Howell, who's been coaching at Emory for 24 years, said during Wilson's time on the team, he developed into a national-level swimmer -- someone knocking on the world stage. Howell said Wilson's drive helped overcome what he lacked in natural ability. 

"If Andrew has a setback, he focuses on what went wrong and to try to move forward to get better," Howell said. 

He went on to train with a postgraduate team at the University of Georgia in Athens. Wilson's Olympian journey is not only peculiar, but he's making history. He's the first-ever Division III athlete to make the U.S. Olympic swimming team and Emory's first Olympian swimmer.

His Olympic dreams developed more recently than other athletes on the team, but Wilson plans on giving it his all. 

"I think every kid who swims in summer league and ends up watching the Olympics thinks like, man, that would be so cool and has their Olympic dream," he said. "I was very aware and pragmatic about the fact that it was very unlikely that I'd ever get there."

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic games offer a closing chapter for the sport in Wilson's life as he's set on his plans for Oxford.

Wilson is set to race in the 100- and-200 meter breaststrokes on Saturday, July 24.