Arianna posts her second A cut with 2nd in 100 free

By BRENT STUBBS Senior Sports Reporter bstubbs@tribunemedia.net Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace couldn't pick a better way to close out the year. The Auburn University senior posted her second A cut of the week for the NCAA National Championships with a second place finish in the women's 100 yard freestyle at the Georgia Fall Invitational in Athens, Georgia, on Sunday. Although she was beaten in the race, Vanderpool-Wallace's time of 46.99 seconds was the fastest of all the collegians who competed. Eleven-time Olympic medallist Natalie Coughlin, swimming unattached, won the race in an American record time of 46.84. Vanderpool-Wallace, however, still holds the Southeastern Conference (SEC), NCAA and US open record at 46.81, which she recorded at the 2011 SEC Championships. Also competing in the event was Bahamian Alicia Lightbourne, a senior at Harward University, who was 35th overall in 52.71. Vanderpool-Wallace, who has already qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games, anchored Auburn University's 400-yard freestyle relay team to a second place finish in 3:15.62 for a NCAA B cut. The University of Georgia won the race in an A cut of 3:14.51. Vanderpool-Wallace said it wasn't a performance she put any emphasis on, so she was really happy that she produced the time that she did. "It's not the time of the year when I'm expected to swim fast," she said. "I know there is still a lot more in me, so come NCAA I hope to swim faster. I didn't really go into the meet with any expectations, so I was happy with the results. I would have been happy regardless because I'm not expected to swim fast until NCAAs." Looking ahead to next year, Vanderpool-Wallace said the NCAA Championships, scheduled for March 15-17, is not the focus for her, although it will conclude her collegiate sting at Auburn University. Instead, she noted that she is concentrating more on the Olympic Games that will be held in London, England, in August. "So I'm not having goals of winning or anything like that," she said. "I'm just focusing on going to the Olympics and competing very well there." As for the participation of Lightbourne, Vanderpool-Wallace said she was delighted that another Bahamian competed in the same event as her. "I really didn't get to talk to her too much, but when we did get to catch up, it was a lot of fun," she said. "So I was pleased that she was there." And having already qualified for both the 50 and 100 freestyle for the Olympics at the FINA World Championships, Vanderpool-Wallace said she will be out to make a consolation or an A final. With the season on hold for the Christmas holiday, Vanderpool-Wallace said she won't be back in action until January. "She noted that she was thrilled to have "closed out the year" the way she did with another outstanding swim on Sunday.


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