Cierra Runge is a 6’4″ freestyle specialist born and raised in the state of Pennsylvania. Runge is in the end of her freshman year at the University of California, Berkeley. Born March 6, 1996 in West Chester, Pa. Runge is undeclared on her major. Although Runge is a versatile freestyle swimmer with the ability to race anything from the 50 to the mile, she’s been a sprinter for the most of her swimming career. Runge recently began focusing more on the distance events, and the transition has paid off. She recently broke the NCAA and Pac 12 record in the 500 freestyle at her first Pac 12 meet as a Cal Bear. She comes from the North Baltimore Aquatic Club coached by Bob Bowman and Erik Posegay, the same club that produced Michael Phelps, Felicia Lee and Annie Zhu. Coming into college, she had put more emphasis into her long course career. Her previous short course times coming into college didn’t necessarily reflect her speed, so her NCAA record didn’t surprise many people. Runge got inspired by swimming when watching the Olympics as a four-year-old, and her parents immediately signed her up for swim lessons at the local Y. Runge is an avid user of social media, and is a fan of the television show, “Friends.”
As a freshman at Cal Berkeley Runge made a huge impact at the Pac 12 Championships. After winning the 800 freestyle relay and breaking the NCAA and American record she followed that up the next day by winning the 500 freestyle and breaking the NCAA record. She then finished fourth in the 200 freestyle and won the 1,650 freestyle breaking the Pac 12 Meet Record. She was named Pac 12 Swimmer of the Meet.
After her freshman season, Runge announced that she would transfer to the University of Wisconsin after taking a year to focus on Olympic preparations in Arizona.
Runge earned a spot on the 2013-2014 U.S. National Junior Team 100m freestyle. She also made the 2014 Pan Pacific Championship Team where she took silver in the 400m freestyle, finished fourth in the 1500m freestyle and fifth as a member of the 800 freestyle relay. She’s been named to the 2015 World Championship Team in the 400m freestyle and as a member of the 800 freestyle relay.
Runge won four medals at the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships, which included a gold in the 800m freestyle relay, a silver in the 400m mixed freestyle relay as well as a bronze medal in the 400m freestyle relay and the 400m medley relay. At the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Runge finished 25th in the 100m freestyle and 26th in the 50m freestyle.
2016 US Olympic Trials
Runge finished fifth in the 200M Freestyle and earned a spot on the US team for the 4x200M Free Relay.