Uvis Kalnins (photo/MSU Athletics)

Uvis Kalnins (photo/MSU Athletics)

Missouri State senior swimmer Uvis Kalnins will return to the Summer Olympic Games this August when he represents his home nation of Latvia in the 200-meter individual medley at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.  Kalnins is the only male swimmer on the Latvian Olympic team and will compete in just the one event.

He previously competed for Latvia at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, finishing 30th (out of 56 competitors) in the 100-meter freestyle. He was the youngest swimmer to finish in the top 30 in London.

“I am more excited about these Olympics than I was four years ago,” said Kalnins who won the Mid-American Conference title in the 200-yard IM his last three seasons at MSU. “When I went to London in 2012, I did not know what to expect and did not have a very high set of goals. This time around, I feel much more prepared and will be looking at making the top 16.”

The native of Valmiera, Latvia will face stiff competition in Rio when the prelims and semifinals kick off on Wednesday, Aug. 10. Three-time defending gold medal winner and international swimming sensation Michael Phelps is once again one of the favorites in the 200 IM.

“I have had the opportunity to race Mr. Phelps several times, and it has been very exciting,” Kalnins said. “In my opinion, he is one of the greatest athletes that will ever walk the earth. For me to have had the opportunity to race next to him and take part in his journey has been an amazing experience.”