Southwestern junior Sarah Ayers put forth a sensational performance at the NCAA Swim and Dive Championships in Knoxville, TN over the past three days. The junior improved her time in each event and is the first Pirate to advance to the finals at the Championships and earn All-American status, doing so in the 100 back and finishing in 7th place in the nation.
Day one opened with Ayers competing in the 50 free. She came into the event as a 51st seed with a time of 24.67. After her preliminary swim she landed in 48th place after a personal best swim of 24.42. She was less than four-tenths of a second off of making the finals. Laura Barito of Stevens won the event with a time of 22.87.
After a rest day on day two Ayers was all set to make her presence known in the event she won the SCAC Championships in, the 100 back. Ayers did not disappoint and finished in fifth place with a time of 56.95 after the prelims, earning her a spot in the finals later that day.
As she returned for the finals Ayers was poised and confident and swam as such, shaving .44 seconds off her time to finish in 7th place over all with a time of 56.51. Less than a second and a half separated the top eight swimmers with Marg Rosenbaum of Hamilton College winning the event in a time of 55.21.
In the final day of competition Ayers competed in the 100 free. Entering the day in 50th place Ayers once again outdid herself in the water, shaving .78 seconds off her time to post a personal best 52.66 in the event and landing tied for 44th place with Megan Finley of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Ayers was one second away from making the finals in the event which will be swam on Sunday.
To view photos from Ayers' historic swim, please click here.
To listen to Ayers' post-swim interview, please click here.