Smith Successfully Defends 500 Free NCAA Title
March 17, 2016
ATLANTA-Virginia junior Leah Smith was victorious in the 500-yard freestyle as the Cavalier women’s swimming and diving finished action on the second day of the NCAA Championships Thursday (March 17) at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta.
Smith (Pittsburgh, Pa.) successfully defended her 500 free NCAA title in a time of 4:31.33. It is Smith’s third NCAA crown (she also won the 1,650 free in 2015), the most in Virginia history and is only the third ACC woman to capture at least three individual national championships.
“I am so happy for Leah,” UVA head coach Augie Busch said. “She is such a tough racer and takes it upon herself to inspire her teammates every chance she gets. She is a true leader and we are lucky to have her. She and the rest of the team are hungry for a lot more success over the next two days. They are excited and so are we as a staff.”
“I was really happy to score points for my team,” Smith said. “The individual glory is great and I would have loved to go 4:29 (and break the NCAA record), but that is not what tonight was about. It was about going out and getting the win to earn the most points for my team.”
After two days of action, the Cavaliers are in fourth place with 118 points, behind Georgia (174), California (144.5) and USC (121.5).
In the 400 medley relay, the team of senior Courtney Bartholomew (Holland, Mich.) and juniors Laura Simon (Simmern, Germany), Kaitlyn Jones (Newark, Del.) and Ellen Thomas (Guildford, United Kingdom) placed third in a time of 3.28.22.
The 200 free relay of freshman Megan Moroney (Deerfield Beach, Fla.), Thomas, sophomore Caitlin Cooper (Atlanta, Ga.) and Bartholomew placed seventh in a school-record time of 1:27.85. Moroney’s lead-off 50 free split of 22.41 ranks fourth on UVA’s all-time list.
Bartholomew placed 10th overall in the 200 IM in 1:55.44, while Jones was 15th in 1:56.91 and sophomore Jennifer Marrkand (Westport, Mass.) was 16th in 1:57.05. Marrkand’s prelim time of 1:56.48 ranks 5th on UVA’s all-time list.
In the 50 free, Cooper finished 17th in 22.16, which ranks third on UVA’s all-time list, while Thomas was 19th in 22.23.
Senior Becca Corbett (Louisville, Ky.) posted a 28th-place finish in 1-meter diving with a score of 270.85 points.
The action continues Friday (March 17) with prelims at 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m. The 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, 3-meter diving and the 200 medley relay will be contested.
Thursday Virginia’s NCAA Results
200 Free Relay
6. Moroney, Thomas, Cooper, Bartholomew – 1:27.85 (1:28.15 in prelims)
200 Individual Medley
10. Courtney Bartholomew – 1:55.44 (1:56.37 in prelims)
15. Kaitlyn Jones – 1:56.91 (1:56.51 in prelims)
16. Jennifer Marrkand – 1:57.05 (1:56.48 in prelims)
47. Vivian Tafuto – 1:59.84
28. Becca Corbett – 270.85
400 Medley Relay
3 . Bartholomew, Simon, Jones, Thomas – 3:28.22
(team of Bartholomew, Simon, Rauth, Cooper – 3:30.00 in prelims)