Disclaimer: BlueSeventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The BlueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
Perhaps the most impactful transfer heading into this NCAA season was former NCAA record-holder Cierra Runge heading from Cal to Wisconsin (by way of Tempe after an Olympic redshirt year at ASU). But Auburn’s Ashley Neidigh spoiled Runge’s big Badger debut with a pair of distance wins on the road.
Neidigh matched up with Runge, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, twice in the meet, and won both clashes.
The 1000 free saw Runge jump out to an early lead, pushing the margin to 2.6 seconds by the 250-mark. But Neidigh started to reel in Runge from there, and soon the two were battling neck-and-neck though the middle of the race. Neidigh didn’t officially take over until the 750-mark, at which point she dropped the hammer and powered away, eventually building to a 6-second margin of victory and a win for the Tigers in 9:50.08.
The 500 was even closer, with the two battling back and forth early. Neidigh built a full-second lead by the 300, then held on as Runge started to charge, and won a touchout 4:50.29 to 4:50.39.
The pair of distance wins helped Auburn win a relatively tight 165-135 meet over the Badgers for a season-opening road win.
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