Meet 2016 U.S. Olympian Cierra Runge from Cochranville, Pennsylvania. Her “swimming story” started at 4 years old, a much younger age than most of the athletes in this series, where she pointed at the TV and told her mom that she wanted to be an Olympic swimmer – before she even was taking swim lessons. Runge qualified to swim as a relay-only member of the American 800 free relay.
From Runge’s SwimSwam Bio:
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.”