College sophomore Lily Gardner has announced that she will transfer to the University of Wisconsin beginning fall 2023. Gardner spent her freshman season last year at the University of Georgia.
Super excited to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Wisconsin! Forever grateful for my time at Georgia and for everyone who supported me throughout this process. Go Badgers‼️
Gardner came out of high school as a 5-time Oregon High School State Champion and U.S. Open qualifier specializing in sprint freestyle and butterfly events.
Gardner was a prime example of a swimmer who thrived in the pool coming out of the 2020 COVID-19 shutdown. Most of her best times are from November 2020 in her first meet back.
In her freshman season with the Bulldogs, her focus shifted a bit, spending more energy on the 200-yard races. She didn’t swim any flat-start 50 frees in her first season with the Bulldogs, and didn’t swim any best times either.
Gardner Time Progression:
|PB Upon commitment||PBs Upon arrival in Georgia||
Season-Bests as a Freshman at Georgia
Gardner ended her season at the February Bulldog Invitational and was not on Georgia’s team at the SEC Championships.
Over the summer, she trained with the TAC Titans in North Carolina, where her results included a USA Swimming Futures Championships final in the 100-meter free (57.86) and a new long course best time in the 200-meter fly (2:19.97).
Gardner returned to Athens and swam the first two meets of the season for the Bulldogs. There her times included a 56.32 in the 100 yard fly and 2:03.20 in the 200 yard fly against Arizona State and Missouri on October 1 and the team’s short course meters meet against Georgia Tech on October 12.
If she returns to her top times, she could be crucial added depth for the top-heavy Badgers. Her best time in the 50 free would be ranked 2nd on Wisconsin’s team this season, behind only Abby Wanezek (22.76); her 100 free would also be 2nd behind Wanezek (49.29). Wisconsin’s 200 free relay was 9th at the Minnesota Invite in 1:31.21, ad their 400 free relay finished 6th.
Because she began the season with Georgia, there is still some conversation ongoing about when she’ll begin with the Badgers.
The Georgia Bulldogs have seen a number of key contributors transfer out since the NCAA Championships. That includes junior Maxine Parker, who is now at Virginia, and 5th year Dakota Luther, who is now at Texas.