WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
March 21, 2013
On the opening night of the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, Georgia took the lead as expected with surprise runner-up team Tennessee close behind.
South Florida Aquatic Club’s Tiffany Oliver, a junior at No. 22-ranked Florida State, was tenth in the 50-yard freestyle in 22.23.
Oliver also led off the Seminoles 17th place 200-yard freestyle relay that finished in 1:30.28 with teammates Kaitlyn Dressel, Katie Cook and Grace Hoffman.
Tennessee opened with a victory in the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:27.14 for its first-ever win in the event in the program’s history.
Winning relay members were senior Caroline Simmons, freshman Faith Johnson, junior Lindsay Gendron and senior Kelsey Floyd.
Southern Cal’s Haley Anderson repeated as NCAA champion in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:34.66. During the race, seven swimmers were in contention but it was Anderson who had the fastest last 50 yards.
Olympian Allison Schmitt, who has won the 500 title her first three years at Georgia before red-shirting last year to train for the Olympics, finished sixth in 4:36.73.
California swept the top two spots in the 200-yard individual medley. Olympian Caitlin Leverenz defended her title winning in 1:53.39 and freshman teammate Elizabeth Pelton was second in 1:53.82.
Arizona junior Margo Greer won her first NCAA title in the 50-yard freestyle in a season-best 21.73. Megan Romano of Georgia was second in 21.88. Another Arizona junior, Samantha Pickens won the 1-meter diving title with 348.445 points. University of Miami’s Carrie Dragland and Kara McCormack finished 12th and 13th.
Tennessee finished the night with another relay win, this time in the 400-yard medley relay in 3:28.51 with Lauren Solernou, Molly Hannis, Kelsey Floyd and Lindsay Gendron. Florida was eighth in 3:33.61.
On the opening day of prelims and finals, more than 80 percent of swimmers in individual events were slower than their seed time for the meet. According to head coach Arthur Albiero of Louisville, three-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov is an assistant coach, only 45 out of 231 individual swims in morning prelims were faster than their seed times.
Two-time all-county swimmer Jemal LeGrand, an Olympian for Aruba his senior year, verbally committed to Florida State. Legrand, a state runner-up in the 200-yard freestyle, is expected to sign on April 17th when the regular signing period opens for swimming.
TEAM TOTALS: 1. Georgia 163, 2. Tennessee 150.5, 3. Arizona 127, 4. California 102, 5. Stanford 90.5, 6. Southern Cal 90, 7. Florida 74, 8. Texas A&M 72, 9. Texas 65, 10. Minnesota 41, 21. University of Miami 9, 23. Florida State 7.
200-yard freestyle relay:
1.Tennessee 1:27.14 (Caroline Simmons, Faith Johnson, Lindsay Gendron, Kelsey Floyd), 2. Georgia 1:27.38, 3. Arizona 1:27.51, 8. Florida 1:28.93 (Ellese Zalewski, Natalie Hinds, Sinead Russell, Lindsey McKnight), 17. Florida State 1:30.28 (Tiffany Oliver, Kaitlyn Dressel, Katie Cook, Grace Hoffman).
1.Haley Anderson, SOCAL 4:34.66, 2. Amber McDermott, Georgia 4:34.86, 3. Shannon Vreeland, Georgia 4:35.95, 47. Lauren Driscoll, California 4:47.95.
200-yard individual medley:
1.Caitlin Leverenz, California 1:53.39, 2. Elizabeth Pelton, California 1:53.82, 3. Maya Dirado, Stanford 1:53.86, 56. Lindsey McKnight, Florida 2:01.25, 61. Eszter Bucz, Florida Atlantic 2:01.84.
1.Margo Geer, Arizona 21.73, 2. Megan Romano, Georgia 21.88, 3. Faith Johnson, Tennessee 21.89, 10. Tiffany Oliver, Florida State 22.23, 24. Harper Bruens, Tennessee 22.49.
1-meter springboard diving
1.Samantha Pickens, Arizona 348.45, 2. Margaret Keefer, Minnesota 338.20, 3. Jodie McGroarty, Tennessee 335.75, 12. Carrie Dragland, Miami 314.20, 13. Kara McCormack, Miami 308.25, 27. Lindsay Lester, Miami 268.75.
400-meter medley relay:
1.Tennessee 3:28.51 (Lauren Solernou, Molly Hannis, Kelsey Floyd, Lindsay Gendron), 2. Arizona 3:28.83, 3. California 3:29.47, 8. Florida 3:33.61, 23. Arizona State 3:36.90 (Taylor Wohrley, Alexandra Popa, Caroline Kuczynski, Shannon Landgrebbe).
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org