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WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana, March 18. SWIMMING out of lane seven, Georgia's Allison Schmitt went out fast and never looked back to defend her title in the 500 free.
Schmitt completed the middle distance event with a time of 4:34.13. She became the first person to defend her title in the event since Emily Mason did so for Arizona in 2004 and 2005. Schmitt's time demolished Mason's pool record of 4:37.11, and is the eighth fastest time of all time in the event. She finished just off Caroline Burckle's NCAA record of 4:33.60. The triumph is also Georgia's third ever. Previously, Laura Conway won the event with a 4:40.01 back in 2006. Incidentally, Schmitt broke her old school record of 4:35.17 posted with her win in 2009.
"It's really exciting (to win)," Schmitt said. "I just went out there and raced trying to win it for Georgia. I knew that there were two other girls representing Georgia, and we're just trying to go and do the best we can."
Schmitt beat California's Lauren Boyle by 3.05 seconds as Boyle touched second in 4:37.18. While pretty impressive, it is not the largest margin of victory in the event ever. Burckle owns that record as well with a 5.91-second triumph in a 4:33.60 to 4:39.51 win over Auburn's Maggie Bird in 2008.
Georgia went 1-3 in the event when Wendy Trott touched third in 4:37.50.
Georgia grabbed the lead with 74 points, while California (52) and Arizona (47) stood second and third. Florida (46) and Texas A&M (43) rounded out the top three.
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