UGA swimming triplets could represent different countries in Olympics

- They've heard them all.

"Is anyone better than the other?" said Mick Litherland, listing off one of his favorites.

"Oh yeah, we get that a lot," one of his brothers agreed.

You're probably not the first to wonder.

"They always ask is it fun messing with a lot of people," said Jay Litherland. "And yeah, it definitely is."

Jay, Mick and Kevin Litherland are triplets, all sophomores on the University of Georgia's swimming team, and all taking part in this week's NCAA men's Swimming and Diving Championships held at Georgia Tech.

"Well they can all swim fast, that's the great thing," said Bulldogs head coach Jack Bauerle, who adds he could tell the triplets apart at the dinner table during a recruiting visit. "You wish they were your sons, that's how you feel. If your sons are like that, you're in good hands."

The Litherlands all are competing in a variety of events at the NCAA Championships, though each has a specialty. There's also a possible difference in their immediate swimming futures: which country they'll try and compete for in the Olympics.

The Litherland's father Andrew is from New Zealand. He's a chef and has worked all over the world, including in Japan, where he met his wife and the boys' mother Chizuko. The swimmers spent most of their lives in the United States, so they have triple citizenship in all three countries.

Jay has already been a member of the U.S. National Team and will attempt to qualify for the Rio Olympics at the U.S. Olympic Trials this summer. His brothers Kevin and Mick will each try to qualify to represent New Zealand in the Olympics.

"Hopefully if all goes well they'll be part of that experience," said their father Andrew. "All the hard work will hopefully pay off."

The brothers enjoy training and competing with one another, as they have all their lives. They say they've never really had the desire to go off on their own entirely, and credit one another for their success.

"We got to our level because we've been training all our lives together and competing against one another," said Jay. "I just think it's awesome to have these guys to train with every day."

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