Former NCAA Record holder and 49-point scorer at the 2015 NCAA Championships Cierra Runge has decided to transfer to the University of Wisconsin after the 2015-2016 season.
Runge, who already had announced that she was sitting out the 2015-2016 season to train with Bob Bowman at Arizona State, won’t return to the Cal program where she was so valuable last season as a freshman.
Runge told Swimming World Magazine, who first reported the news, that she was excited to reunite with coach Chris Collier, who did a lot of her direct coaching in the distance program while at NBAC under Bowman’s leadership. Once in Madison, Runge will join a distance group with Danielle Valley, who was a finalist in the 800 free at the 2012 Olympic Trials and was also a transfer in to that program.
While Teri McKeever’s squad did win the 2016 title, this means that by the time the 2016-2017 season rolls around, the Golden Bears will have lost at least 249.5 out of their 327 individual points from last year’s NCAA Championship meet to a combination of graduations, transfers, and Missy Franklin turning pro. That means the squad will have to rebuild in a hurry in the final year of eligibility of its world-class seniors Liz Pelton and Rachel Bootsma, as well as emerging sprint star Farida Osman.
In the summer before coming to Cal, Runge qualified for the U.S. World Championships team as a part of the 400 free individually and as a part of Team USA’s 800 free relay. After a record-setting freshman season at Cal, that at one point saw her break the NCAA Record in the 500 yard free, her summer of long course wasn’t quite as successful as she added three seconds and finished 9th at Worlds in the 400 free. That swim was off of the 4:04 that she swam the summer prior to qualify for the team.