Written by Sharon Robb
March 23, 2013
Megan Romano was leaving nothing to chance on the last leg of the final event at the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday night at IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.
The University of Georgia senior split a 46.25 on the anchor leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay to clinch the team title for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs won the relay in style in 3:09.40 to break the NCAA and U.S. Open record.
After two runner-up finishes, the Bulldogs put an exclamation point on their long-awaited team title victory for veteran coach Jack Bauerle and first team title since 2005. It was the sixth team title in the program’s history. Only Stanford has won more with nine.
Romano was joined on the winning relay by Shannon Vreeland, Canadian Chantal Van Landeghem and Olympian Allison Schmitt, who sat out last year to train and make the 2012 London Olympics.
Arizona took the American record in the 400 free relay in 3:10.63 with Megan Lafferty, Margo Geer, Kait Flederback and Monica Drake.
The Bulldogs totaled 477 points to dethrone two-time defending champion California, second with 393 and counting the days until Olympian Missy Franklin starts classes in the fall.
Tennessee was third with 325.5, Texas A&M fourth with 323.5, Arizona, 311 and University of Florida with 305 points. University of Miami was 20th with 40 points thanks to its diving program and Florida State finished a disappointing 32nd with 12 points.
The Georgia Bulldogs were in great shape headed into Saturday’s finals. The Bulldogs advanced nine swimmers into the third and final night of competition. It was two more “A” finalists than the seeds had them at.
California’s 15-point deficit was just too much to make up. The Bears were trying to win their fourth title in the program’s history.
California freshman Elizabeth Pelton won the 200-yard backstroke in an American, U.S. Open and NCAA record 1:47.84. Pelton was out in 25.93 followed by splits of 27.12, 27.41 and 27.38.
In the 100-yard freestyle, Arizona’s Margo Geer won in 47.19. Romano was second in 47.37. University of Florida’s Natalie Hinds set a school record in 47.73 for third place.
Texas senior Laura Sogar won the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:05.41 taking down American record holder Breeja Larson. Minnesota senior Haley Spencer was second in 2:06.15. Texas A&M’s Larson was third in 2:06.24.
In the 1,650-yard freestyle, Haley Anderson of Southern California took it out fast and held on for the win in 15:45.98. Top seed Sarah Henry of Texas A&M was second in 15:46.41. Indiana’s Lindsey Vrooman was third in 15:50.73.
Tennessee junior Tori Lamp won the platform diving title with 335.35 points. University of Miami sophomore Kara McCormack was fifth with 284.95.
Florida Gulf Coast sophomore Emma Svensson of Sweden was the recipient of the Elite 89 Award for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Svensson, an Economics major, carries a 4.0 GPA. She was presented the award during Saturday’s meet. The award embraces the true essence of a student-athlete.
TEAM TOTALS: 1. Georgia 477, 2. California 393, 3. Tennessee 325.5, 4. Texas A&M 323.5, 5. Arizona 311, 6. Florida 305, 7. Southern Cal 291, 8. Stanford 246, 9. Texas 186, 10. Minnesota 141, 20. Miami, 40, 32. Florida State 12.
1.Haley Anderson, Southern California 15:45.98, 2. Sarah Henry, Texas A&M 15:46.41, 3. Lindsey Vrooman, Indiana 15:50.73.
1.Elizabeth Pelton, California 1:47.84, 2. Dominique Bouchard, Missouri 1:50.06, 3. Elizabeth Beisel, Florida 1:51.17, 41. Johanna Gustafsdottir, Florida International 1:56.74, 49. Sonia Perez Arau, Florida International 1:58.58.
1.Margo Geer, Arizona 47.19, 2. Megan Romano, Georgia 47.37, 3. Natalie Hinds, Florida 47.73, 17. Tiffany Oliver, Florida State 48.63, 44. Harper Bruens, Tennessee 49.63
1.Laura Sogar, Texas 2:05.41, 2. Haley Spencer, Minnesota 2:06.15, 3. Breeja Larson, Texas A&M 2:06.24, 50. Eszter Bucz, Florida Atlantic 2:15.89.
1.Cammile Adams, Texas A&M 1:52.61, 2. Lauren Harrington, Georgia 1:54.39, 3. Carolyn Blalock 1:54.65, 15. Caroline Kuczynski, Arizona State 1:57.71.
1.Haley Ishimatsu, Southern Cal 396.75, 2.Victoria Lamp, Tennessee 328.60, 3. Amy Cozad, Indiana 325.20, 6. Kara McCormack, Miami 286.20.
400-yard freestyle relay:
1.Georgia 3:09.40 (Shannon Vreeland, Chantal Van Landeghem, Allison Schmitt, Megan Romano), 2. Arizona 3:10.63, 3. California 3:11.58; Florida State, DQ (Kaitlyn Dressel, Tiffany Oliver, Grace Hoffman, Kelsey Buckley).
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com