Geer wins 100 free NCAA title; UA finishes fifth
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Having already claimed the national title in the 50 free on Thursday, junior Margo Geer added hardware in the 100 free while the Arizona women’s swimming and diving team also broke an American record in the 400 free relay on the final day of the NCAA Championships. The Wildcats finished fifth in the team competition with 311 points.
“Tonight was a really special night for us by ending a great meet with an exclamation point,” UA coach Eric Hansen said. “With Bonnie (Brandon) setting the school record in the 200 back, Margo with another NCAA title and then an American record in the 400 free relay was just icing on the cake for us. What we accomplished at this meet will take a while to sink in but I’m very proud of what these women have accomplished this year.”
Geer completed the sprint free sweep with a time of 47.19, finishing ahead of Georgia’s Megan Romano (47.37) and Natalie Hinds of Florida, who finished third in 47.73. Geer, the top seed heading into the finals after a strong 47.17 in prelims, became just the second UA winner in the event, joining Lacey Nymeyer, who won the event in 2008 with a time of 47.50.
“It felt awesome,” Geer said of winning the 100 free. “I knew it was going to be a really close race going against those Georgia Bulldogs. They have a really great group of girls over there. So it felt really good to get the win.”
To close out the championship, the Arizona 400 free relay team placed second with a school-record and American-record time of 3:10.63. The team of Megan Lafferty, Geer, Kait Flederbach and Monica Drake smashed the previous school record by almost a full second. That swim also eclipsed the previous American record of 3:10.87 set by Stanford last year.
Meanwhile, freshman Bonnie Brandon captured the consolation final in the 200 back with a school record time of 1:51.41, beating her previous school record time of 1:51.49.
Georgia won its first team championship since 2005 with 477 points. California came in second (393), followed by Tennessee (325.5), Texas A&M (323.5) and Arizona.
The Wildcats closed out the week with three individual national titles, an American record and three school records. Meanwhile, Arizona was the only school at the meet to finish in the top three in all five relay events. In addition to Geer’s two titles, Samantha Pickens became the first Arizona female to win a diving national championship by taking the 1m competition. To go with the 400 free relay school record and Brandon’s school record in the 200 back, the Wildcats also broke the school record in the 800 free relay (6:54.43) Friday night.
Arizona earned a fifth-place finish overall for the second consecutive season and also finished in the top five of the team standings for the 10th straight season.