Alex Walsh Clocks 1:53.66 200 IM at Cavalier Invite, #3 in NCAA This Season

2023 Cavalier Invite

  • February 3-5, 2023
  • UVA Aquatic Center – Charlottesville, VA
  • 25 Yards (SCY)
  • Live Results: “2023 Cavalier Invitational” on MeetMobile
  • Teams: UVA, George Washington, James Madison, Johns Hopkins, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Richmond, William & Mary

It’s just the first session of the Cavalier Invite, but Alex Walsh wasted no time getting after it, posting the top time of the morning in the 200 IM in 1:53.66.

That performance vaults the defending national champion into third in the NCAA this season, behind teammate Kate Douglass (1:52.07) and Stanford’s Torri Huske (1:53.37).

Walsh touched three seconds ahead of the rest of the field, splitting 25.08/27.86/33.06/27.66.

It’s the junior’s first time swimming the race since UVA’s November dual with Texas, where she posted a time of 1:56.59. Before that, she hadn’t swum the event since winning her national title in American record fashion with a 1:50.08.

There’s been a lot of speculation about what Walsh, her sister Gretchen Walsh, and Douglass will swim at NCAAs–will they try to go nine-for-nine, or will there be overlap in their event lineups? Many people have speculated that A. Walsh will exchange the 200 IM for the 500 free on Day 2 of NCAAs. With her 4:38.34 from midseason, Walsh had the top time in the NCAA until Erica Sullivan unleashed a 4:35.88 last weekend. Sullivan’s time and Weyant’s being cleared for NCAA competition this season make the path to a national title in that event more difficult for her, but the 500 is still certainly an option for Walsh if she wishes.

However, it’s still hard to imagine her opting out of the 200 IM, where not only is she the defending champion, but also the reigning world champion (LCM).

Aimee Canny also had some strong morning swims for the Cavaliers. The South African just arrived in Charlottesville this semester and has been making the adjustment to yards swimming. Her improvement continued to trend upward here, as she posted new bests in the 200 IM and 50 free.

In the medley, she swam 1:56.68, breaking 2:00 and cutting 4.27 seconds off the 2:00.95 she posted three weeks ago. That’s #20 in the NCAA this season, and puts her under what it took to earn an NCAA Championship invite last season (1:56.85). A second swim isn’t so far out of reach at nationals either; Abby Harter is ranked 16th this season at 1:56.55, and it took 1:55.90 to earn a second swim last year.

Canny topped prelims in the 50 free in 22.47, a personal best by .48 seconds. Virginia is certainly hoping she’ll add depth to their sprint free relays, so her improvement there is a good sign for them. UVA has four swimmers in the top eight of the women’s 50, including the 1-2-3 in Canny, Carly Novelline (22.79), and Kate Morris (23.41). Izzy Bradley is seeded fifth heading into finals in 23.62.

On the men’s side, UVA’s Narutaka Hotta won a close battle with UNC’s Daniel Chance to earn the top time of the morning in the 500 free, 4:32.09 to 4:32.77. Just six men swam the event this morning, with Johns Hopkins’ Eric Ji touching third in 4:35.51.

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Sherry Smit
1 month ago

Hot Take: Alex Walsh doesn’t swim the 200 IM at NC’s. she does 200/500 FR; 400 IM instead

Andy Johnson
Reply to  Sherry Smit
1 month ago

In what world is she swimming a 200 FR/400 IM double lol.

ALEXANDER POP-OFF
Reply to  Sherry Smit
1 month ago

That wouldn’t be smart. She also needs to prepare to defend her title at Worlds.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Sherry Smit
1 month ago

Alex Walsh
Day 1: W 200 IM
Day 2: W 400 IM
Day 3: W 200 FL or W 200 BR

The decision for Kate Douglass on Day 1 is the W 50 FR or W 200 IM.

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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