Georgia's DeScenza Strikes Gold

MONTREAL — Mary DeScenza of the University of Georgia earned a gold medal at the FINA World Championships on Thursday.

The United States women's 800-meter relay team of Natalie Coughlin, Katie Hoff, Whitney Myers and Kaitlin Sandeno swam to a first-place time of 7 minutes, 53.70 seconds in the final on Thursday. Earlier in the day, DeScenza represented the U.S. (along with Sandeno, Caroline Burckel and Rachel Komisarz) in the leadoff position in the semifinals and helped the team to a top time of 7:59.64. By virtue of her swim in the semis, DeScenza picked up a gold medal.

DeScenza, a rising senior from Naperville, Ill., wasn't idle during the Thursday evening session. She competed in the 200 butterfly, touching in 2:10.44 and finishing sixth. In the semis, she had a time of 2:09.73 to go into the final seeded seventh. Poland's Otylia Jedrzejczak won the event in a world-record time of 2:05.61.

Earlier in the World Championships, DeScenza earned a bronze medal as a member of the 400 freestyle relay team and she took fifth in the 100 butterfly. She will compete on the medley relay team on Saturday.

"Mary is such a great competitor," said Georgia coach Jack Bauerle, who is serving as the U.S. women's head coach at the World Championships. "She's coming home with at least two medals, and she's going to let it rip with the medley relay, so we'll see what happens."

On Friday, three Georgia swimmers will be in action: Laura Conway in the 800 freestyle, Josh Laban in the 50 freestyle and Alexandra Putra in the 200 backstroke.

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