Women's Swimming Prepares for NCAA Championships

The UA's relay teams are among the fastest in the country as Wildcat swimmers head to the NCAA Women's Swimming Championships.
March 14, 2012
The women's swimming NCAA championship series begins March 15. (Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics)
The women's swimming NCAA championship series begins March 15. (Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics)
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Arizona's No. 9 women's swimming team will compete in the 2012 NCAA Women's Swimming Championships March 15-17.

The meet marks Arizona head coach Eric Hansen's first NCAA championship with the Wildcats. In 2011, Arizona finished 5th at NCAAs in Austin, Texas.

The UA's relay teams are among the fastest in the country and will be crucial to a high-scoring week at the championships. Arizona's 400 medley team has the second-fastest time in the country, a time posted at the Texas Invite in December.

Juniors Ellyn Baumgardner (Fairfax, Va.) and Lauren Smart (Charlotte, N.C.) and sophomores Sarah Denninghoff (Tucson, Ariz.) and Margo Geer (Milford Center, Ohio) will swim the race after earning runner-up honors at the Pac-12 championships.

Another relay team, the 200 free relay, also finished in second at the Pac-12 championships, with Geer, sophomores Kait Flederbach (Carmel, Ind.) and Aubrey Peacock (Jacksonville, Fla.) and senior Emma Darlington (Tucson, Ariz.).

Arizona's 200 medley relay team, consisting of Smart, Baumgardner, Peacock and Geer, finished in third place at the Pac-12 championships and its 400 free relay team currently has the second-fastest time in the country.


The Wildcats are led by seniors Alyssa Anderson (Granite Bay, Calif.) and Darlington, who will be competing in their last Arizona event.

Alyssa Anderson – Anderson has had an extremely successful year, swimming the 200 free, 200 fly and 500 free. She has top-10 times in the 200 free and 200 fly and a top-five time in the 500 free (and earned a third-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships).

Emma Darlington – In addition to earning a spot on the 200 free relay team, Darlington has swam the 50 free, 100 back and 100 free this season.


Lauren Smart – Smart will give Arizona an added boost in this year's championships after transferring from Virginia in 2011. She had an extremely successful showing at this year's Pac-12 championships, earning runner-up honors in the 100 back, third place in the 200 back and fifth in the 100 fly.

Ellyn Baumgardner – Baumgardner also had a good performance at the Pac-12 championships, after finishing second in the 100 breast. Her fastest time in the event came at the 2011 NCAA championships, at 59.38.

Chelsey Salli (Vancouver, B.C.) – Salli is another breaststroker for the Wildcats and proved her worth to the team with her fourth-place finish in the 200 breast and fifth-place finish in the 100 breast at the Pac-12 championships.

Monica Drake (Champaign, Ill.) – In addition to competing on the Wildcats' 400 free relay, Drake also competes in the 500 free, the 200 free and the 100 free.


Margo Geer – Geer has had a very successful year for the Wildcats, most recently earning runner-up honors in the 50 free and 100 free at the Pac-12 championships. She currently has the third and second-fastest times in the country in these events, respectively.

Sarah Denninghoff – Denninghoff posted a second-place finish in the 200 back and a fourth-place finish in the 100 back at the Pac-12 championships. She has the third-fastest time in the country in the 200 back.

Kait Flederbach – Flederbach is a freestyler, competing in the 50 free, 100 free and 200 free in addition to adding a strong leg to the 200 free relay team.

Aubrey Peacock – Peacock recorded a fourth-place finish at the Pac-12 championships in the 200 back and also competes in the 100 back and the 100 fly for the Wildcats.

Samantha Pickens (Murrysville, Pa.) – Pickens, the only women's diver to compete for Arizona, earned her place by winning the the 3m and earning runner-up honors on the 1m at the NCAA Diving Zone E Championships.

The championships will open on March 15 at 11 a.m. with preliminaries and finals beginning at 7 p.m.

For complete results and continued coverage of Arizona swimming, visit www.ArizonaWildcats.com or follow @ArizonaSwimming on Twitter.