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MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, March 20. THE women’s 50-yard freestyle proved to be speedy as Georgia’s amazing freshman Olivia Smoliga blazed her way to victory at the NCAA Division I Women’s Championships.
After defending champion Margo Geer of Arizona posted a 21.53 to move to fifth all time this morning, it looked like a foregone conclusion she would duplicate that effort. Smoliga, however, had a 21.5 to her credit as she posted a 21.54 earlier this season. She nearly matched that time with a 21.59 for the win this evening.
That broke a tie between Stanford and Georgia for the most wins in the event’s history at seven as Georgia now stands alone with eight victories. Smoliga joins Courtney Shealy (2000), Maritza correia (2002, 2003) and Kara Lynn Joyce (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) as 50 free winning Bulldogs.
USC’s Kasey Carlson picked off Geer for second, 21.72 to 21.73, in the women’s splash-and-dash, whlie Wisconsin’s Ivy Martin took fourth in 21.79.
Georgia’s Maddie Locus (21.87), Stanford’s Maddy Schaefer (21.91), San Diego State’s Anika Apostalon (22.00) and Tennessee’s Faith Johnson (22.01) rounded out the championship heat.
Florida’s Natalie Hinds won the consolation heat with the second fastest swim of the night in 21.66, while Stanford’s Lia Neal took second in 21.98.
California’s Kaylin Bing (22.05), FGCU’s Emma Svensson (22.33), Texas A&M’s Lili Ibanez (22.34), Minnesota’s Becca Weiland (22.34), Texas’ Ellen Lobb (22.35) and Texas A&M’s Breeja Larson (22.53) also picked up team points out of the B final.