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Thursday, June 13, 2024

After one season, Olympic gold medalist Cierra Runge no longer with Wisconsin swimming and diving program

After missing the first half of the 2017-’18 season, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Cierra Runge is no longer on the Wisconsin swim team, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.

According to two sources close to the team, Runge left the team of her own volition. This decision does not come as a surprise to many around the program as Runge has been out of the water and not training with UW since September.

Sources cited personal issues as the reason for Runge’s departure, and one indicated that there is a possibility she will transfer to another school but not swim.

According to, however, it appears that Runge is transferring to Arizona State to continue her educational and swimming career.

"I’d like to thank Wisconsin for all that they have done for me and I will always be a Badger fan,” Runge said in a statement to SwimSwam. "I am looking forward to finishing up my collegiate career at ASU as well as continue my training for international competitions."

As of the morning of Nov. 21, Runge was removed from Wisconsin's women's swimming and diving roster on its official website.

The Pennsylvania native transferred to UW last fall from the University of California, where she briefly held the NCAA record in the 500-yard freestyle. Seeking more solid training before the Olympics, Runge took a gap year to train with her former club coach, Bob Bowman, in Arizona.

Upon arriving at Wisconsin in late 2016, Runge broke three individual school records early in the season and was part of a Big Ten champion relay, but was off her game at the NCAA Championships, where she was affected by an illness.

Additionally, the junior captain trained in Madison as well as at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., over the summer, leading up to the World Championships, where she competed on the 4x200-meter freestyle relay.

Runge’s exit leaves Wisconsin looking very similar to what’s already been seen in dual meets this season. In the distance events, rapidly rising junior Madison Tew will lead the team, while senior Abby Jagdfeld will take a more prominent role in the middle distance events and relays.

The rest of the Badgers will be back in the pool on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the Texas Hall of Fame Invitational in Austin, Texas.

Runge, UW Athletics Communication and the Wisconsin coaching staff did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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This story was updated at 3:36 p.m. CT on Nov. 20th to reflect Swim Swam's reporting that Runge is transferring to Arizona State.

This story was updated at 12:30 p.m. CT on Nov. 21st to reflect that Runge had been removed from UW's roster on the team's website.

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