Sport: Women's Swimming (4x200 Free relay)
Birthday: March 7th, 1996 (age 20)
Hometown: Cochranville, Pennsylvania
Cal affiliation: former California Golden Bears swimmer (2015) who is transferring to Wisconsin
Years at Cal: 2015
Olympic appearances: 2016 is Cierra’s 1st Olympic games appearance
Cierra Runge competed on the Cal Women’s Swimming team for one year in 2015 but what an year that was. The Golden Bears captured the NCAA team national championship that year.
So proud of this team!!! National champs 2015! GO BEARS!— Cierra Runge (@CierraRunge) March 22, 2015
Cierra Runge was an instrumental part of the Bears’ victory in Greensboro. She scored major points in the 500 Free and 1650 Free by placing 2nd in both of those events and then won the NCAA relay title in the 4x200 Free relay with Hong Kong Calympian Camille Cheng, Elizabeth Pelton, and USA Calympian Missy Franklin.
Cierra Runge also placed 4th in the 200 Free, won by Missy Franklin.
Cal Athletics may not be claiming Cierra Runge as a Calympian for 2016 Rio, we certainly believe that she is deserving of being cheered on by Cal fans.
Cierra Runge is still pretty new to the International swimming scene. She does have a Gold from the 2015 World Championships in Kazan by swimming in the 4x200 Free relay - the same event that she will participate in at Rio. She also finished 9th in the 400 Free.
Runge did also participate in the 2012 Olympic Trials in two sprinting events (50 Free and 100 Free). She has since transitioned into more of distance swimmer now.
From her USA Swimming Bio page:
WORLD CHAMPS HISTORY
2015: Gold, 800m FR-R; 9th, 400m FR
PAN PACS HISTORY
2014: 5th, 800m FR; Silver, 400m FR; 4th 1500m FR
OLYMPIC TRIALS HISTORY
2016: 3rd, 400m FR; 5th, 200m FR ... 2012: 25th, 100 Fr, 26th, 50 Fr
U.S. NATIONALS HISTORY
2014: 6th, 200m FR; 2nd, 400m FR; 2nd, 800m FR
More on Cierra and her Rio Outlook:
Cierra Runge will compete in only one event, the 4x200 Free relay. By placing 6th in the 200 Free race, Runge made the US Olympic team to likely only swim in the prelim of the 4x200 Free. Fortunately for her, the depth of Team USA means that the Americans are the favorite to win this race yet again.
Although she has opt to transfer to Wisconsin in lieu of returning to Berkeley after taking this past year off to focus on realizing her Olympic dreams, Cierra Runge appears to have made friends for life in her one year at Cal. She was roommate with Canadian Calympian Noemie Thomas. It is also pretty clear that she is very good friend with Missy Franklin.
In Wisconsin, Cierra Runge will be reunited with her old coach Chris Collier, who was her distance coach from North Baltimore Aquatic Club. Runge has taken 2015 - 2016 season off to go train with Bob Bowman (head USA coach this year and old coach of Michael Phelps and relatively new hire by Arizona State to be their head coach) down in Arizona along side other NBAC folks like Michael Phelps.
It is too bad that Cal women’s swimming was not able to retain Cierra Runge after her very successful freshman campaign. Golden Bears don’t really have that many good distance swimmers, but c’est la vie. Nevertheless, just like how Brandi Chastain is listed on the Cal Bears Olympian page despite Chastain having transferred to Santa Clara, Cierra Runge will always be a Calympian to us.
Good luck to Cierra and one last time for old times’ sake GO BEARS!