Event coverage sponsored by SpeedoUSA
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, March 21. TENNESSEE'S 400 medley relay win marked a new chapter in the program's history books when the ladies out touched Arizona by a fingernail on the first night of finals at the NCAA Division I Championships.
Tennessee pulled off a tremendous 200 freestyle/400 medley relay sweep for its first two NCAA relay titles in program history. The relays were reminiscent of Texas A&M's breakthrough meet a few years back, when Julia Wilkinson and Alia Atkinson gave the Aggies their first and second NCAA titles.
The Lady Vols were trailing heading into the butterfly leg, but relay MVP Kelsey Floyd dropped a stunning 50.98 split, putting Lindsay Gendron toe-to-toe with Arizona's Margo Greer for the anchor leg. Gendron touched the wall first with a 47.27 freestyle split, leaving Tennessee with an overall time of 3:28.51. Solernou clocked a 52.88 on the backstroke leg, and Molly Hannis posted a 57.38 in the breaststroke, putting together the perfect equation for a two Tennessee relay wins on the first night of finals.
Tennessee also pulled off another historic feat, breaking the record for the slimmest margin of victory in the 400 yard medley relay, out touching Arizona by a mere .32 seconds. The previous record was a .36 second margin, when Auburn took the win over Georgia in 2003, 3:31.45 to 3:31.81.
Arizona's Lauren Smart (52.39), Ellyn Baumgardner (58.16), Megan Lafferty (51.67) and Geer (46.61) put up the second-place time, while California witnessed its two-year reign in the event fall with a third-place 3:29.47 from Cindy Tran (52.38), Caitlin Leverenz (58.06), Rachel Bootsma (51.27) and Elizabeth Pelton (47.76).
Stanford (3:30.06), Texas A&M (3:30.63), Georgia (3:30.90), Texas (3:32.35) and Florida (3:33.61) rounded out the top eight in the final event of the evening.