First-Year Brits At Conference Championships, 2nd Edition

Earlier this year we took a look at how several British swimmers were faring thus far during their NCAA debuts this season. After the first round conference championships concluded, we also reviewed performances to see where the athletes landed.

Now with the remaining conference championships having taking place, let’s look at the remaining first-year Brits and see how they performed.  As a reminder, even though some swimmers are listed as a class above freshman, they are still first-year NCAA swimmers.

1st Edition

Olivia Gardner, University of Akron

The Ellesmere College Titan swimmer, who now calls herself a Zip, headed into the MAC Championships with scoring potential in the IM and 200 back events. And, Gardner indeed produced, qualifying for a B-Final and an A-Final on her home turf earlier this month.

Gardner crushed a new personal best of 1:57.96 in the 200 backstroke to earn 7th place and claim 12 points, while also snagging up 1 point by finishing 16th in the 200 IM with a time of 2:05.19. That gave a total of 13 points to the Zips, which helped contribute to the squad’s sixth-straight MAC swimming and diving title.

Gardner’s 200 back performance now inserts the Brit into the list of top Akron performers ever at #7 after just her first year at the University.

Alicia Wilson, Cal

Wilson was already making waves this season by capturing 3 NCAA ‘B’ cuts as of our first post’s publishing. The Guildford City Club swimmer capitalized on her opportunities at PAC-12’s, scoring in both the 200 IM and 200 back events.

Although her 200 IM time of 1:56.52 at the PAC-12 Championships was slower than her season-best of 1:55.77, it was still enough to finish 10th overall and contribute to Cal’s scoring haul. She also collected a 17th place finish in the 100 back in a mark of 53.23, shaving more than .3 off of her previous season-best of 53.60.

Wilson’s premiere performance, however, came in the 200 back where she snagged up 8th place after entering the meet as the 14th seeded swimmer. Her time of 1:55.11 checks-in as a new personal best and inches Wilson closer to potential scoring position come NCAAs.

Holly Shepherd, Florida International University

For Royal Wolverhampton-turned-Panther Shepherd, the first-year Brit was a downright game changer as Florida International University won its 5th straight Conference USA title this year. Shepherd steered a whopping 53 points the Panthers’ way via her 3rd place finish in the 200 IM (2:00.21) and runner-up result in the 200 back (1:56.93). Both performances rank her within FIU’s top 5 performers of all-time in the 5th and 4th slots, respectively, while her 200 back time clears the NCAA B standard.

However, the first-year’s biggest swim came in the 400 IM, where Shepherd cranked out a season-best effort of 4:15.27 to nab the conference title. That places her at #3 among FIU all-time performers rendered another NCAA B cut.

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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