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AUSTIN, Texas, March 17. GEORGIA's Allison Schmitt joined the ranks of Lindsay Benko and Marybeth Linzmeier as three-time champions in the women's 500-yard free at the NCAA Division I Women's Championships.
While Schmitt clocked an NCAA mark during prelims with a 4:32.71 to move into a third-place tie with Kate Ziegler all time, she did enough to capture her third straight victory in the middle distance event with a 4:34.20 – the ninth-fastest time ever.
The swim tied her with USC's Benko (1996, 1997, 1999) and Stanford's Linzmeier (1982, 1983, 1984) as three time winners, and gave Georgia its fourth title in the event, three belonging to Schmitt. Laura Conway won the other for the Bulldogs in 2006 with a 4:40.01.
Towson's Meredith Budner gave Schmitt something to think about through the 300-yard mark, but could not keep up. She finished runner-up with a strong time of 4:34.56 – the 14th-fastest mark ever – to move from ninth all time in the event to eighth.
"It feels good," Schmitt said of her win. "Every time I'm out there I swim for what's on my cap, so it's great to win one for the Bulldogs. [Budner] had a great race, and she definitely wanted it."
Arizona's Alyssa Anderson, who clocked a 4:34.34 during prelims to move to sixth all time, fell off that pace with a third-place time of 4:35.41.
Minnesota's Ashley Steenvoorden posted a fourth-place 4:37.11, while Georgia's Wendy Trott (4:37.55), USC's Haley Anderson (4:38.99), Georgia's Shannon Vreeland (4:39.14) and Florida's Elizabeth Beisel (4:42.18) finished out the A final.
Texas A&M's Cammile Adams grabbed the B final win with a 4:37.81, while Georgia's Chelsea Nauta earned 10th overall with a 4:38.61. Indiana's Brittany Strumbel (4:38.83), Virginia's Katya Bachrouche (4:39.11), Texas A&M's Sarah Henry (4:40.25), Ohio State's Samantha Cheverton (4:40.48), North Carolina's Stephanie Peacock (4:41.09) and Virginia's Rachel Naurath (4:42.17) also competed in the consolation heat.
Georgia pushed out to a big lead in the team title race with 77 points, while Arizona held second with 50 points. California (40), Texas (32) and Stanford (30) owned third through fifth heading into the 200 IM.
Swimming World's NCAA Division I Women's Championships Notes Package Sponsored by NISCA