Coming into the night, the Tennessee Lady Vols had never won a relay at NCAAs. When the dust settled on night number 1 of the 2013 Women’s NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships they had won 2 relays and sit 2nd in the team race.
Video by Garrett McCaffrey
Tennessee and Georgia, the only teams with two swimmers in the A-Final of the 200 free relay, went 1-2 in this 200 free relay. Fast forward to the final leg. Arizona had the lead, but they front-stacked their relay with Margo Geer leading them off in 21.71. Tennessee was 2nd, and Georgia was 3rd.
First Arizona went by the wayside. That left it to the Vols and the Bulldogs to battle for the victory. A pair of superstars on the anchors: Kelsey Floyd against Megan Romano. Floyd split a 21.48 to hold off Romano and give the Volunteers the win in 1:27.14. Romano, meanwhile, was a 21.08 (unable to recreate her 20.9 from SEC’s) and the Bulldogs were 2nd in 1:27.38.
Believe-it-or-not, with all of the great swimmers and Olympians that have come through their program, that is the first relay victory in the history of the Tennessee women’s swimming program.
The Tennessee women knew what needed to happen to change this 400 medley from “disappointing” at SEC’s to “magnificent” at NCAA’s. They needed a better breaststroke leg to give Kelsey Floyd a chance to run down Texas A&M, and to give Lindsay Gendron a chance to hold off Margo Geer. They needed Lauren Solernour to stay close and go under 53 on the backstroke leg.
Both of those things happened. Solernou was a 52.88, and sophomore M0lly Hannis was a 57.38 on the breaststroke. By the time Kelsey Floyd and her best-in-the-field 50.98 butterfly leg, Lindsay Gendron anchored in 47.27 as the Volunteers took their second ever relay win in 3:28.51 – just missing the American Record by two-tenths.
(Editor’s digression – How about the Volunteers taking their first ever relay victory to start the session, and then their 2nd to end the session? It reminds me of the 2010 Texas A&M team, who got their first ever individual swimming national title from Julia Wilkinson in the 100 free, and then the very next race got their 2nd from Alia Atkinson in the 200 breaststroke).