Sophomore Swimmer Lily Gardner Will Transfer from Georgia to Wisconsin

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
50 free 23.29 22.88 N/A
100 free 50.18 49.50 50.97
200 free 1:47.87 1:46.23 1:48.07
100 fly 54.79 53.81 54.89
200 fly 2:00.63 1:57.89 1:59.64
100 back 55.68 (Same)

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.

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WatchingFromTheSidelines
1 month ago

Opinion piece: It’s a culture thing at UGA. Was it like this in the Baurle era, or is it new? I don’t know. Buried in the dark now is a mental health and well-being problem coursing through the entire program. Team men’s and women’s, need to rethink the leadership approach within the team. They need to rethink mental health care priorities. They need to redefine the leadership structure. Assuming team leadership comes from being the fastest / Olympian-like folk in the pool does not create successful teams. The elite swimmers probably have a native selfishness that is part of the secret to their athletic success. There’s not “I” in team, and those folks are probably mostly “I”. Now, UGA probably… Read more »

Sherry Smit
2 months ago

Gardner is a huge pick up for Wisconsin! If they can get her back to her 1:46 200 free range, she could very well be on that 8 FR relay!

Lauren
2 months ago

Rumor has it she isn’t the only sophomore at UGA in the portal right now…

Eli
Reply to  Lauren
2 months ago

Getting the feeling Stege may transfer too

Lauren
Reply to  Eli
2 months ago

Not who I had in mind but 🤷‍♂️

murphyswim
Reply to  Eli
2 months ago

Let’s just let young athletes make their own choices and not stir the pot. Best of luck to Lily.

Sherry Smit
Reply to  murphyswim
2 months ago

I understand that staying out of people’s businesses is the best thing to do, but when someone IE Stege is 4:08 in the 400 free as a high school junior, there is a lot of hope there. She’s been well off (and I know that she had an injury) but with the way UGA has been going, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her transfer somewhere else

anonymous
Reply to  Lauren
2 months ago

Let’s not forget that these swimmers committed to a Jack Bauerle coached team that practiced together at least some of the time. The coaches aren’t the same ones they were expecting or even what they had last year. Not everyone wants to participate in the new environment.

Thunderbolt
2 months ago

Congratulations. She had a very exciting and promising progression pre-UGA and I’m hopeful she’ll get back on track at Wisconsin. Very fun swimmer to watch.

mike jones
2 months ago

who?

Meeeee
Reply to  mike jones
2 months ago

Lily Gardner. That’s who. Laughing coming from a guy with a vanilla common name. Our IT support guy is named Mike Jones.

mike jones
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

You know it’s a good joke when you have to explain it

ReneDescartes
Reply to  mike jones
2 months ago

Switching Motorola to a prime co phone

Ervin
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

281 330 8004

Michael
Reply to  Ervin
1 month ago

Swimswam absolutely needs more millennial Hip-Hop/Rap references, with Braden explaining them in the most sterile, surgical way possible. I’m here for this every day.

O-kkkkkkkkaaaaaaaayyyy

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. 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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