Meet the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swim Team: Cierra Runge

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
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.”

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7 years ago

Amazing young lady and family! To the countless hours you have all put into this incredable moment and to the many more to come!

Veronica Pidge
7 years ago

I remember teaching Cierra in Pioneer girls at Church . God Bless you . I’m praying for you girl ❤

Jeanie Curry (Mrs.Curry)
7 years ago

You can do it Cierra, we are so proud of you!

Dan Syme
7 years ago

Cierra’s Dad, Scott, is a paramedic whom I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years. I admire Scott and his wife for the countless hours they put in over the years commuting to Baltimore to help her chase her Olympic dream. On top of that they managed to fund her training with a paramedic’s meager salary. Go Cierra, there are a lot of paramedics and EMTs cheering for you 🙂

7 years ago

Seems to leave out the fact that she transferred to Wisconsin for next year.

Reply to  Peter
7 years ago

Perhaps you missed the paragrah that reads, “After her freshman season, Runge announced that she would transfer to the University of Wisconsin after taking a year to focus on Olympic preparations in Arizona.”

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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