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Grover Leads UCLA at 2022 NCAA Championships

Mar 17, 2022
Claire Grover (photo: Walt Middleton)

THURSDAY RECAP

ATLANTA – Senior Claire Grover reached the finals of the 50 free to highlight UCLA's performance at day two of the 2022 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, held in Georgia Tech's McAuler Aquatics Center.

Grover's effort in the 50 free was notable in myriad way for the Bruins.

The Scottsdale, Ariz. native went a personal-best 21.82 during prelims, tying for 11th place and clinching a spot in the 16-swimmer final. That mark was a .16 second improvement on her previous-best time, and represents the No. 2 time in the 50 free in school history (trailing only Linnea Mack's 21.67, set in 2017). It was the second time in Grover's career that she broke the 22-second mark in the 50 free, and the first time since 2019. 

Grover followed that up by going 22.01 in the Consolation Final, ending up in 13th place. That made her the first Bruin swimmer to score at NCAAs since Katie Grover (no relation) did so in the 200 free during the 2017-18 season. 

While Grover was the lone Bruin to reach a final on Thursday, all four of UCLA's NCAA qualifiers were in action.

Freshman Paige MacEachern was the first Bruin to hit the water at NCAAs, swimming to a 41st place finish in the 500 free with a time of 4:45.25. That was her second-best time of the year.

Junior Gabby Dang joined Grover in the 50 free prelims, taking 65th overall at 22.95.

After the swim prelims, junior Hannah Butler netted a 40th place finish in 1-meter diving with a score of 240.00. She scored over 40 points on each of her final three dives, including a list-high 46.80 on her last attempt.

UCLA returns to action at NCAAs on Friday, and all four qualifiers will be in action once again. MacEachern will tackle the 400 IM, Dang will compete in the 100 fly, Grover will swim the 100 breast, and Butler will look to make noise in 3-meter diving.

Stay tuned to @UCLASwimAndDive on Twitter for all team updates from Atlanta.  

FRIDAY RECAP

ATLANTA – All four of UCLA's NCAA qualifiers were once again in action on Friday, with all three Bruin swimmers outperforming their seed and all four Bruin competitors finishing inside the top-40 of their respective events.

MacEachern led the Bruins off with a strong showing in the 400 IM, going a best time (4:10.19) to snag 23rd place. She was less than two seconds off a top-16 finalist spot.

Dang followed up by posting a time of 52.64 in the 100 fly, good for 38th place (just ahead of her No. 39 seed). It was the second consecutive year that Dang finished No. 38 in the 100 fly at NCAAs, following her 53.11 at the 2021 national meet.

Grover finished up the day among UCLA's swimmers by going a season-best 59.54 in the 100 breast, taking 23rd place. She was just a quarter-second behind a finals-qualifying spot.

Butler capped off the afternoon with a 33rd place finish in 3M at 283.30. She netted over 46 points on all but one of her dives, including a 60.20 on her second attempt.

UCLA wraps up at NCAAs on Saturday, with a pair of Bruins scheduled to compete: Grover in the 100 free and MacEachern in the 1650 free. Prelims are scheduled for 7:00 a.m. PT, with finals to follow at 3:00 p.m. PT.

SATURDAY RECAP

ATLANTA – The Bruins closed out the 2022 NCAA Championships on Saturday, with Grover finishing 34th in the 100 free prelims and MacEachern taking 37th in the 1650 free. 

It was the third event of the week for both. 

Grover got the Bruins started on Saturday by going 48.58 in the 100 free, her second-best time of the year and just .06 seconds off her seed time. 

MacEachern followed up by swimming the mile - the first event of the afternoon session - in 16:24.50. Like Grover's swim, it was her second-best time in that event this season, trailing only the personal-best 16:22.99 she recorded at the Pac-12 Championships.

As a team, the Bruins ended the meet in 34th place with 4.0 points.