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Five first-place finishes for Arianna!

Bahamian collegiate swimmer Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace continues to get faster and faster.

On the final day of competition of the Southeastern Conference(SEC)Swimming and Diving Championships in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday, she blazed to a 46.81 seconds clocking in the 100 Free to blast the SEC and National Collegiate Athletic Association(NCAA)records.

The rapidly improving swimmer, who is a junior at Auburn University, recorded the record-breaking feat in the preliminary rounds of the 100 Free at the SEC Championships on Saturday morning, and then came back later that evening to record that same time for a first place finish in the final.

With that stunning time, Vanderpool-Wallace lowered Olympian Natalie Coughlin’s collegiate mark. The NCAA record of 47 seconds flat was set by Coughlin in 2003. Maritza Corriea was the owner of the SEC record, 47.49 seconds, set in 2003.

It is also a personal best time for Vanderpool-Wallace, who has already qualified for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. The second and third place performances in the 100 freestyle event were turned in by Morgan Scroggy and Amanda Kendall in times of 47.66 seconds and 47.90 seconds respectively. Scroggy’s time was under the NCAA A-qualifying time of 47.84 seconds and Kendall’s time was under the B-qualifying time of 50.23 seconds. The remainder of the field swimming in final also dipped under the B-qualifying time.

Before bringing her championships to a close, Vanderpool-Wallace also won the 50 Free and finished second in the 100 Fly. She recorded a time of 21.34 seconds in the 50 Free to break the SEC record, and finished second in the 100 Fly in a time of 52.03 seconds. She swam 51.98 seconds in the heats. Jennifer Connolly won the 100 Fly in 51.64 seconds.

Vanderpool-Wallace also swam in four relay events for Auburn. She led her team to first place finishes in 200 Free and Medley relays and also the 400 Free relay. Her Auburn Tigers 400 Medley relay team finished second behind Tennessee. Vanderpool-Wallace anchored three of the four teams. In the 400 Medley relay, the Tigers swam a time of 3:32.79 for second behind Tennessee’s 3:30.90. They won the 200 Free, 200 Medley and 400 Free relays in times of 1:28.25, 1:36.11 and 3:13.03 respectively.

At the conclusion of the meet, the Lady Tigers finished third behind Georgia and Florida. The University of Georgia won the meet with 720 points, the Florida Gators finished second with 678 points and the Auburn Lady Tigers rounded out the top three with 563 points.

The NCAA Championships will be held March 17-19 in Austin, Texas. At the meet Vanderpool-Wallace will compete in several events including the 100 fly, 100 freestyle and a few relay events. As a result of her performances at the SEC Championships, Vanderpool-Wallace’s name was placed in the running for the swimmer of the meet at the NCAA Championships. She is also on track to win the NCAA ’Swimmer of the Year’award.

President of the Bahamas Swimming Federation(BSF) Algernon Cargill summed up Vanderpool-Wallace’s feat in one word, outstanding. He said that Vanderpool-Wallace is on the right path and that Bahamians should look forward to seeing her at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

“Arianna has proven that she has been consistent all year, and really, her rise was really evident at the CAC Games with her amazing swim,”said Cargill.”The swimming federation and indeed all Bahamians are really proud of her and her outstanding results at the championships.

“She is on track for the Olympic Games. Competing at the Olympics means that she is a college swimmer swimming against the best in the world, who are professionals, so from that prospective her performances are outstanding but for the Olympic Games she is going to have to swim consistently at this level and we know that she can do it. We are very proud of what she has done so far,”added Cargill.

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