Virginia Adds Two Medals to Meet
March 18, 2017
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Virginia finished the last night of the NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships on Saturday, March 18, 2017, with three swimmers earning a spot in the top five of an event and two of them taking home a medal.
Leah Smith grabbed the team’s first medal of the night, earning the silver in the 1650-yard freestyle. She touched with a 15:28.89 to secure second place with a 22 second gap over the remaining competition. In addition to swimming under the previous pool record time, Smith received her 13th first-team All-America honor, tying Courtney Bartholomew for the most first-team appearances in program history.
In a big point event for the Cavaliers, UVA qualified both Kaitlyn Jones and Jennifer Marrkand in the top heat of the 200-yard butterfly. Marrkand held the bronze medal after clocking a personal best swim of 1:53.15. Jones touched four-hundredths of a second later, taking fourth place with a 1:53.19.
Laura Simon claimed honorable mentions All-America in the 200-yard breaststroke. She would see her way to the wall with a 2:08.86, tabbing the 14th fastest time of the night.
The meet concluded with a 12th place finish for UVA in the 400-yard freestyle relay as Shannon Rauth, Ellen Thomas, Jones, and Smith, respectively, reached the wall with a 3:14.14. In the prelims, Eryn Eddy, Thomas, Rauth, and Smith, earned the spot in the B Final with a 3:13.73 to ensure an honorable mention All-America listing.
“I am so pleased with our final day,” said head coach Augie Busch. “The women showed great fight. Leah (Smith) capped off an incredible career with one of the fastest miles in history. Also, to watch KJ (Kaitlyn Jones) and Jen (Marrkand) achieve All-America for the first time was awesome. To say I’m proud of all the women, especially the fourth years, is an understatement.”
UVA finished the meet as the 12th overall team in the nation, totaling 149 points. Stanford held their lead to take the national title with a 526.5 while California followed with 366 points.
Rounding out the meet, Thomas tied her season high of 48.83 for the 39th fastest time in the 100-yard freestyle. Caitlin Cooper and Morgan Hill finished 49th and 50th, respectively. Cooper swam a 49.47 in the event while Hill touched with a 49.65.
Sydney Dusel grabbed 24th in the platform diving with 235.25 points for the five-round competition. Kylie Towbin would tally 229.5 points for the 26th best performance.
Vivian Tafuto ended the meet with a 2:13.72 in the 200-yard breaststroke for 56th overall.
The conclusion of the NCAA Championships marks the end of the women’s season as the men will prepare for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships beginning next Wednesday, March 22.