While everyone has been paying attention to the spectacular cap that Michael Phelps is putting on his career — as well as the dominant performance that Katie Ledecky has put up on the women’s side of the ledger — the Wisconsin Badgers have an athlete of their own who will be taking Olympic Gold back to Madison.
Cierra Runge, who transferred from California and will compete for Wisconsin, swam the anchor leg of the 800 freestyle relay preliminary race for the United States. She was one of the four swimmers helping the USA achieve the top time in the prelims. While she was switched out for the final, the redshirt sophomore receives a well-earned gold medal in her only qualifying event for this Olympiad.
Runge is the first Badger woman to earn a spot on the Olympic team since Carly Piper back in 2004. Junior Matt Hutchins is scheduled to swim in the preliminaries in the 1500 meter freestyle for New Zealand on Friday.