Another meetup, another big weekend for the Virginia Women’s Swim and Dive Team. The two-time national champion won a total of 13 events and set multiple records this weekend at the Tennessee Invitational in Knoxville.
The Invitational featured swim teams from multiple schools. Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan and North Carolina competed in a “Quad Dual Meet,” meaning each race was settled as if each team were competing in a regular dual format. The Virginia women’s swim team beat Tennessee, Michigan and North Carolina in doubles scoring 3-0 while the UVA men’s team won 2-1.
Virginia Women’s Swim & Dive: 3-0, 13 event wins
Virginia defeated Tennessee 242-145
Virginia defeated Michigan 244-142
Virginia defeated North Carolina 235-149
The Cavaliers won four events on Thursday’s opening night of the competition. Alex Walsh posted a lightning-fast time of 4:38.34 to win the 500-yard freestyle, the fifth-fastest time in UVA history and the country’s best time this season by four seconds. Gretchen Walsh won the 50-yard freestyle in 20.94, which is also the nation’s best time this season, just missing Kate Douglass’ American record of 20.84. Douglass, Maxine Parker, Lexi Cuomo and Kate Morris took first place in the 200 yard freestyle relay and Douglass also teamed with Alex Walsh, Abby Harter and Maxine Parker to win the 400 yard medley relay .
UVA won four more events on Friday night. Kate Douglass and Gretchen Walsh both posted sub-50-second times in the preliminary rounds of the 100-meter butterfly, becoming only the second and third women to accomplish the feat this season. Douglass won the 100-yard butterfly in 49.84 seconds. Ella Nelson conquered the 400-yard medley while UVA teammate Sophia Nelson was third. Alex Walsh won the 100m breaststroke in 57.94, the second fastest time in UVA history, while Kate Douglass swam the third fastest time, 58.14, and placed 2nd. Gretchen Walsh placed first in the 100-yard backstroke with a record meet-and-pool time of 50.13.
On the final day of competition on Saturday, the Cavaliers took home five events to round out a dominant weekend. Sophia Knapp won the 1650-yard freestyle in 16:12.11, winning her first collegiate event. In the weekend’s highlight performance, Kate Douglass broke the Tennessee Invite, UVA Program, ACC, NCAA and US Open records for the 200-yard breaststroke and swam the final in 2:01.87, her own previous record Best time of 2:02.19, which she swam last spring to win the NCAA title.
Virginia finished in the top four each in the 200-yard breaststroke, with Alex Walsh, Ella Nelson and Anna Keating trailing Douglass 2-3-4. Gretchen Walsh added a third event win by placing first in the 100-yard freestyle and finishing a season-best 46.89. Abby Harter won the 200m butterfly in 1:54.45. Eventually, Douglass, Gretchen Walsh, Alex Walsh, and Maxine Parker won the 400-yard freestyle by over three seconds.
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Virginia Men’s Swim & Dive: 2-1, One Event Victory
Virginia defeated Michigan 192.5-183.5
Virginia defeated North Carolina 208-168
Tennessee defeated Virginia 265-122
Virginia earned four podiums on opening night, including two second-place finishes in relays. Matt Brownstead, Matt King, Jack Aikins and August Lamb finished second in the 200 yard freestyle relay and Aikins, Noah Nichols, Josh Fong and King finished second in the 400 yard medley relay. Nichols was second in the 200-meter medley relay and King was third in the 50-meter freestyle swim time of 19.15 minutes.
Noah Nichols secured the only event win of the weekend for the Cavaliers on Friday night, taking first place in the 100-meter breaststroke.
UVA ended the weekend with multiple podiums to seal wins over North Carolina and Michigan. Aikins, Brownstead, Connery and King placed second in the 400 yard freestyle relay. Aikins placed second in the 200-yard backstroke, and King and Brownstead placed third and fourth, respectively, in the 100-yard freestyle. Nichols and Max Iida went 2-3 in the 200 meter breaststroke.
Virginia gets almost two months off before its next doubles meet as the ACC game begins after the New Year with a home game against Virginia Tech on Saturday, January 14th.
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