2022 ACC Champs Day 5 Scratches: Berkoff, Douglass, G. Walsh to Race 100 Free

by Robert Gibbs 12

February 19th, 2022 ACC, College, News, Previews & Recaps

2022 ACC SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Heat sheets for the final day of the 2022 ACC Championships reveal some interesting decisions as teams vie for an overall title.

Last night NC State’s Katharine Berkoff and UVA’s Gretchen Walsh went head-to-head twice in the 100 back, with Berkoff winning the individual event and Walsh narrowly getting her hand on the wall first in the relay, en route to the Cavaliers swimming the fastest time ever.

Today, the two will square off again, but not in the 200 back, where Berkoff was the #2 seed and the defending runner-up and Walsh was the #11 seed. Instead, they’ll both race the 100 free, where Walsh is seeded 2nd and Berkoff 3rd.

They’ll be battling there against Kate Douglass, the versatile Cavalier who was seeded #1 in both the 100 free and the 200 breast today. She’s opted to scratch the 200 breast, where she holds the conference record and is the 2nd-fastest woman in history, and will instead seek to defend her title in the 100 free.

The also-versatile Alex Walsh of UVA has scratched out of the 200 back (#7 seed) and the 100 free (#7 seed) and will instead race the 200 breast. She doesn’t even have an entry time, but watch for her to do something big out of the very first heat.

Notre Dame freshman Sophia Karras was seeded to swim in the fastest heat of the 1650 according to the psych sheet, but she has not competed at all this week an does not appear on the heat sheets.

On the men’s side, the biggest news is that Louisville fifth-year Nick Albiero will race the 200 back for the first time ever at ACCs. Traditionally, Albiero has raced the 200 fly on the final day of the meet, and he’s won that all five times he’s raced it, but this new schedule necessitated a lineup change for the final day. Albiero probably could’ve opted for the 100 free — he’s had some strong free relay splits over the years — but he’s also a strong backstroker. His lifetime best of 1:41.70 in the 200 back came over three years ago the 2018 ACC-B1G Challenge, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him drop the second or two that it should take to be in the mix for a title in this event.

The only other top ten scratch comes from NC State’s Noah Henderson, who was seeded 9th in the 100 free, but has already maxed out his three individual events with the 50 free, 100 fly, and 200 fly, having made the A-final in each.

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Joel Lin
7 months ago

That was a very relaxed 1:51.0 by Tiltmann. She is going to throw dynamite in the pool tonite.

Joel Lin
7 months ago

Like this move by Berkoff to get into the 100 free at this meet. She is a legit contender for a 400 free relay spot in 2024. Her sprint free has really improved over the last 18 months & she had some quick free relay splits at short course worlds in December. Takes a lot of moxie to step out of a race as a favorite and into a race where you could easily be third. Love the competitive attitude.

WahooSwimFan
Reply to  Joel Lin
7 months ago

But kinda a fold on the team race – giving up a likely assured win for likely 3rd thru 6th finish. Doubt she is within a second of Douglas or G Welsh, but Counti, Cuomo and Albiero won’t be pushovers either.

Not-so-Silent Observer
Reply to  WahooSwimFan
7 months ago

I believe last year Berkoff and Muzzy went 1&2, so they might be hoping that Muzzy and other wolfpack women can handle the 200 Back.

With Alonz and Arens already expending their 3 events, they needed a 100 free card to play. Berkoff is their best shot at a podium finish.

Joel Lin
Reply to  Not-so-Silent Observer
7 months ago

It will be closer than prior years, but it’s UVa’s meet.

Berkoff has realistic sights on a piece of that Paris 2024 free relay & tonite she will be racing two likely members of that Paris 2024 relay. Gotta race Goliaths to be a Goliath. Love it.

Snarky
Reply to  WahooSwimFan
7 months ago

0.1 this am.

Amy
Reply to  Joel Lin
7 months ago

She’s pretty close in prelims. She must be feeling confident! I’m looking forward to this race, the ACC has been the most exciting conference meet this weekend IMO.

Not-so-Silent Observer
7 months ago

According to meet mobile…

NC State has 14 swims today & UVA with only 13.
Not including relays

I wonder who will get more A & B finalists 👀

Last edited 7 months ago by Not-so-Silent Observer
WahooSwimFan
Reply to  Not-so-Silent Observer
7 months ago

Also platform diving today; all 4 UVA divers have scored this week so UVA likely gains another 20-40 points here.

Please and Thank you
7 months ago

Please leave ‘fifty year Nick Albiero’ in.

Austinpoolboy
Reply to  Please and Thank you
7 months ago

The hero of us grey beards!

Admin
Reply to  Please and Thank you
7 months ago

A Nick Albiero like this only comes around once every 50 years.

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