INDIANAPOLIS — Lauren Solerno, Molly Hannis, Kelsey Floyd and Faith Johnson met in a circular embrace with smiles spread from ear-to-ear as Tennessee fans erupted in applause and chants of, “I said it’s great to be a Tennessee Vol!” inside the IU Natatorium.
It’s starting to become a familiar routine.
The 200-yard medley relay team gave the Lady Vols a third victory at the NCAA swimming championships on Friday night. UT finished in a time of 1 minute 34.95 seconds to break the school record and edge defending champion California by more than a second.
“It felt amazing,” Hannis said. “That’s one relay we went into the meet really focusing on and had our eye on all year. It was great to see it all come together and happen.”
The Lady Vols won the 200 freestyle relay and 400 medley relay on Thursday.
UT was also ninth in the 800 freestyle relay with Mary Griffith, Kate McNeilis, Lindsay Gendron and Floyd in 7:03.63.
The Lady Vols have another opportunity in a relay with the 400 free tonight.
Entering the final day, the Lady Vols dropped to third place with 263.5 points. Georgia leads with 300 with California second with 285.
UT divers Jodi McGroarty and Tori Lamp advanced to the 3-meter finals. McGroarty was fifth with 344.45 points with Lamp seventh with 321.55.
“It’s a bit of an overflow of emotion really,” McGroarty said of her experience at the NCAA championships. “I’ve just grown so much from this experience, and to finish on such a high — the NCAA’s are like the Olympics for a lot of us — it’s so competitive and tough, and I’m really proud that I was up there.”
Gendron raced against gold medalist Allison Schmitt and defending NCAA champion Megan Romano of Georgia in the finals of the 200 free and finished fifth in 1:43.77.
Floyd finished 11th in the preliminary round for the 100 butterfly, but she tied her personal best of 52.05 and was third in the consolation finals. Faith Johnson missed qualifying for the consolation final and finished in a career-best 54.61.
In the 100 breaststroke, Molly Hannis finished in 59.31 to leave her only .01 seconds short of reaching the finals. The sophomore led the field throughout the entire consolation finals to claim ninth in 58.84.
Madison Hahn had a career best in the 100 backstroke at 53.4 but did not advance.
“Our morning was not awful, but compared to yesterday — which was phenomenal — it was a little bit deflating,” UT coach Matt Kredich said. “Tomorrow morning is our finals. We want to be as ready, excited, focused and determined as we can be tomorrow morning for that session.”