Smith Wins 1,650 Free UVA Women Finishes Fifth at NCAAs
March 19, 2016
ATLANTA, Ga.-Virginia junior swimmer Leah Smith captured the 1,650-yard freestyle for the second-consecutive year as the UVA women’s swimming and diving team finished fifth at the NCAA Championships Saturday (March 19) at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta.
The Cavaliers finished fifth for a second-consecutive year with a total of 264 points, most in school history. It is UVA’s first back-to-back top-five performances. Georgia won the team title with 414 points, followed by Stanford (395), California (358) and Texas A&M (309).
“While it is not all we wanted, which was a top-four finish, a top-five finish at NCAAs shows that we are a premier program in the country,” UVA head coach Augie Busch said. “There are hundreds of programs that want to be where we are, so to do it back-to-back years is nothing short of phenomenal. We feel like we are just getting started with what we can do here and I am very proud of these women.”
Smith (Pittsburgh, Pa.) successfully defended her national title in the 1,650 free in a time of 15:32.72. Smith jumped out in front by over a second after the first 100 yards and gradually grew the lead over the entire race, finishing over six seconds faster than Georgia’s Brittany MacLean (15:39.29). It is Smith’s fourth NCAA title after she also defended her national crown in the 500 free on Thursday.
“I think it is one of my strengths to take it out fast and after that I was trying to respond to any move she (MacLean) was making so that I could touch that wall first and gain as many points as possible for my teammates,” Smith said.
Smith has more individual NCAA titles (4) than any other UVA student-athlete and ties Mitzi Kremer (1987-89) of Clemson for the second-most national crowns in ACC women’s swimming and diving history. Sue Walsh of North Carolina earned eight NCAA titles from 1982-84.
Also in the 1,650 free, senior Hanne Borgersen (Frederick, Md.) placed 17th in 16:07.65.
In the 200 back, senior Courtney Bartholomew (Holland, Mich.) finished as the NCAA runner-up in a time of 1:50.29. It is the fifth time Bartholomew has finished second at the national meet, including twice in the 100 back (2015-16), twice in the 200 back (2015-16) and once in the 400 medley relay (2015). Bartholomew is now a 13-time first-team All-American, most in school history and overall is a 19-time All-American, which ties Rebecca Cronk (’00) for the most in school history.
Freshman Megan Moroney (Deerfield Beach, Calif.) placed 11th overall in the 200 back in a time of 1:52.23, while sophomore Jennifer Marrkand (Westport, Mass.) was 14th overall in 1:52.41, which ranks fourth on UVA’s all-time list. Moroney’s prelim time of 1:52.02 ranks second on UVA’s all-time list.
The 400 free relay of Moroney, junior Ellen Thomas (Guildford, United Kingdom), sophomore Caitlin Cooper (Atlanta, Ga.) and freshman Eryn Eddy (Loveland, Colo.) finished 10th overall in a time of 3:13.79, the second-fastest time in school history.
In the 200 fly, junior Kaitlyn Jones (Newark, Del.) finished 10th overall in a Virginia-record time of 1:54.36. Junior Laura Simon (Simmern, Germany) placed 16th in the 200 breast in a time of 2:10.45.