Wildcats send 11 to NCAA swim championships

BY foxsports • March 14, 2012

The ninth-ranked Arizona Wildcats will send 11 individuals to the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, which begin Thursday and run through Saturday in Auburn, Ala. The Wildcats finished fifth in the 2011 Championships in Austin, Texas.

Two seniors, Alyssa Anderson and Emma Darlington, will be competing in their final meet for Arizona. Anderson comes into the meet with a top-five time in the 500 freestyle and a top-10 time in the 200 butterfly and 200 free. Darlington is part of the 200 freestyle relay team that finished second in the Pac-12 championships and also swims the 400 freestyle relay.

Arizona also sends four juniors to the meet: Virginia transfer Lauren Smart (100 and 200 backstroke, 100 butterfly); Ellyn Baumgardner (100 and 200 breaststroke); Chelsey Salli (100 and 200 breast); and Monica Drake (200 freestyle).

Sophomore Margo Geer enters the meet ranked second nationally in the 100 freestyle and third in the 50 free, and sophomore Sarah Denninghoff ranks third in the 200 backstroke. Other sophomore qualifiers for the Wildcats are Kait Flederbach (freestyle relays); Aubrey Peacock (200 backstroke, relays); and Samantha Pickens (diving).

Arizona's hopes for matching or improving on last year's finish will likely depend on its relay teams. Its 200 medley team of Baumgarder, Smart, Denninghoff and Geer and its 400 freestyler team of Darlington, Drake, Geer, Denninghoff currently rank second nationally.