INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Arizona women’s swimming and diving team closed out the second day of competition at the NCAA Championships in style with a school-record performance in the 800 free relay. Overall, UA is in fourth in the team competition with 246 points.
The Wildcats shaved nearly five seconds off their season-best time in the 800 free relay to finish second in the event behind Georgia (6:54.43). The Arizona team of Bonnie Brandon, Margo Geer, Grace Finnegan and Monica Drake touched in a time of 6:57.26, more than a second faster than the school record of 6:58.36, which was recorded in last year’s NCAA Championships. Geer and Drake were both part of that relay team as well.
“I’m happy with our team as a whole,” UA coach Eric Hansen said. “For our relay to finish second and set a school record by over a second just says it all. We are carrying a lot of momentum into the last day, and we’re going to need it to hold on and/or move up.”
Georgia leads the team standings with 300 points, followed by California (285), Tennessee (263.5) and Arizona. Texas A&M rounds out the top five with 216 points.
To start the night, the Arizona 200 medley relay team of Lauren Smart (24.57), Ellyn Baumgardner (26.63), Megan Lafferty (23.29) and Margo Geer (21.20) earned a third-place finish with a time of 1:35.69. The Wildcats finished just behind champion Tennessee (1:34.95) and runner-up California (1:35.53).
Senior Megan Lafferty continued to have a strong meet, clocking a time of 52.05 to finish sixth in the 100 fly.
The Wildcats also picked up significant points in the 100 breast, as Baumgardner and Chelsey Salli both advanced to the finals. Baumgardner placed seventh (59.37) and Salli came in eighth (59.79).
Brandon and Lauren Smart each earned a spot in the consolation final of the 100 back, with Brandon placing third and Smart coming in sixth. Smart earned her spot by defeating Annemarie Thayer of Stanford with an impressive time of 52.08 in an exciting swim-off earlier in the day.
The final day of competition on Saturday will include the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly and 400 free relay.