AUBURN - Auburn rising senior Ava Ohlgren earned her third gold medal in international competition Sunday, out pacing the field in the 400m IM finals at the 2009 World University Games held July 4-10 in Belgrade, Serbia. The Northville, Mich., native hit the pad in 4:40.61, smashing her previous career best in the event by nearly three seconds.
Ohlgren advanced through prelims as the top seed after blazing through heat one in 4:44.50, taking the wall six seconds ahead of her nearest competitor, Canada's Hanna Pierse (4:50.49). Team USA confederate Lyndsay DePaul (Southern California) placed second through prelims out of heat three, touching in at 4:44.96. De Paul went on to place second to Ohlgren in finals, hitting the wall in 4:41.94 to give the United States a pair of medals for the event. Russia's Svetlana Karpeeva took bronze with a 4:44.26.
Ohlgren earned a pair of gold medals for Team USA at the 2007 Pan American Games, taking first in the 200m freestyle and swimming the third leg of the winning 800m freestyle relay team.
Also in competition on Sunday was rising Auburn senior Kelly Marx, hitting the boards for the men's 3-meter springboard finals. Although Marx placed within the top-18, necessary for advancement, he placed third amongst the Team USA divers and failed to make the next round. The Overland Park, Kan., native finished the day with a six-dive total of 337.90 with a 15.5 degree of difficulty.
Auburn swimming and diving has now accumulated 37 gold medals at the World University Games since 1983. Most recently, in 2007, Auburn swimmers took three gold medals on the performances of Kara Denby, Bryan Lundquist and Doug Van Wie. In 2005, former Tigers Demerae Christianson, Hayley Peirsol and Eric Shanteau each claimed gold.