COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 20. FLORIDA's Caroline Burckle felt the rush of an absolute eruption at the McCorckle Aquatic Pavilion at the NCAA Division I Championships as she downed the 18-year old NCAA record of Janet Evans in the 500 free.
Burckle ripped off a time of 4:33.60 to down the 4:34.39 set by Evans back in 1990. While Evans split times of 53.48, 1:48.90, 2:44.40 and 3:40.19 along the way to the previous standard, Burckle cut her record time down as follows: 52.14, 1:47.07, 2:42.31 and 3:38.25.
The time also stands as the fourth-best of all time behind only Katie Hoff's American record 4:30.47 and Kate Ziegler's times of 4:32.71 and 4:33.35. Incidentally, Burckle also became the third-fastest swimmer in the event all time after initially standing fourth behind Evans with a 4:34.87 coming into today.
The victory is also Florida's fifth all time in the event, trailing only Stanford's tally of seven.
Joining her in the heat, Auburn's Maggie Bird snatched second place with a time of 4:39.51, while Texas A&M's Kristen Heiss took third in 4:40.03.
Burckle's 5.91-second triumph over Bird also broke another record previously held by Evans for the largest margin of victory in the 500 free at an NCAA Championship meet. Evans, during her 4:34.39 performance, beat Florida's Whitney Hedgepeth (4:38.80) by 4.41 seconds back in 1990.
Auburn jumped into the lead with 50 points, while Arizona sat second with 46 points. Texas A&M (42), California (41) and Florida (34) rounded out the top five.