Alex Walsh Passes Kate Douglass as Winningest ACC Championship Swimmer Ever with 26 Titles

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 37

February 25th, 2024 ACC, College, News


University of Virginia senior Alex Walsh has surpassed her former collegiate teammate Kate Douglass for the most event titles in conference history.

Douglass, who finished her college career last season, won 25 career ACC titles, and on Saturday night, Walsh won her 26th career title.

While the ACC’s public record books don’t rank all-time event winners, but according to research done by UVa’s sports information department, they were the two winningest swimmers in the conference’s history.

Under current rules, the maximum possible conference championships a swimmer can win in a four year career is 28. While Walsh is entitled to a 5th year of eligibility because of the COVID-19 waivers, most of the Cavaliers’ star swimmers have ceded that opportunity to shift their focus away from college swimming.

Walsh has been a perfect 7-for-7 in her last three ACC seasons, and has won all 16 relays in which she’s raced. The only blemishes on her resume came during her freshman season, when she won the 200 IM, was 3rd in the 200 back, and was 4th in the 100 breast.

Both swimmers got wins across a number of different events. The most noticeable difference between their runs is that Douglass more often swam the leadoff leg of free relays, while Walsh was more commonly off a rolling start.

If Walsh were to come back for a 5th year, she might set a record that would never be broken. Even if she doesn’t come back – with Stanford and Cal joining the ACC next year, the conference becomes even deeper, and going on these kind of dominant runs will become tougher.

But for now, we enjoy a Virginia team that is on as good of a run as any college team we’ve seen in the modern era. That these two could somehow overlap and not interfere with each others’ individual wins (in spite of swimming similar races) shows the incredible depth of this Virginia team.

Alex Walsh‘s Wins

Event Time Leg (if a relay)
2021 800 free relay 1:43.19 2nd
2021 200 IM 1:51.53
2021 200 free relay 21.09 4th
2021 400 medley relay 51.57 Backstroke
2021 400 free relay 47.22 4th
2022 800 free relay 1:41.63 4th
2022 200 free relay 21.38 2nd
2022 200 IM 1:52.38
2022 200 free 1:42.28
2022 400 medley relay 49.59 Butterfly
2022 200 breaststroke 2:03.02
2022 400 free relay 46.72 2nd
2023 200 medley relay 26.1 Breaststroke
2023 200 free relay 21.3 4th
2023 200 free 1:41.63
2023 100 breast 57.64
2023 400 medley relay 57.45 Breaststroke
2023 200 breast 2:03.68
2023 400 free relay 47.07 4th
2024 800 free relay 1:41.23 2nd
2024 200 free relay 20.82 3rd
2024 200 IM 1:51.76
2024 200 fly 1:49.16
2024 400 medley relay 49.13 Butterfly
2024 200 breast 2:02.24
2024 400 free relay 47.05 3rd

Kate Douglass‘ Wins

Event Time Leg (if a relay)
2020 200 medley relay 22.33 butterfly
2020 200 IM 1:51.36
2020 200 free relay 21.75 1st
2020 100 fly 50.83
2020 400 free relay 47.77 1st
2021 200 medley relay 20.62 freestyle
2021 200 free relay 21.5 1st
2021 100 fly 49.96
2021 400 medley relay 46.66 4th
2021 100 free 46.83
2021 400 free relay 46.88 1st
2022 200 free relay 21.1 1st
2022 50 free 21
2022 200 medley relay 20.54 freestyle
2022 100 fly 49.86
2022 400 medley relay 46.25 freestyle
2022 100 free 46.81
2022 400 free relay 47.02 1st
2023 200 medley relay 20.49 freestyle
2023 200 free relay 20.95 1st
2023 200 IM 1:50.15
2023 100 fly 48.84
2023 400 medley relay 48.25 butterfly
2023 100 free 45.86
2023 400 free relay 46.35 2nd

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

Excel has a setting to show all decimal places down to a specified place (such as the hundredth). This will fix the issue where the tenth and hundredth disappear if it’s a 0.

1 month ago

Between herself, her sister, Kate Douglass, and Paige Madden, I think an NCAA title has been won by Alex Walsh or one of her teammates in every single swimming event besides the 100 breast and 200 back during her career at UVA. That’s got to be a record! If she returns next year, Claire Curzan can probably get that 200 back, but the 100 breast will be hard for Walsh or a teammate to get to complete the sweep.

Reply to  Willswim
1 month ago

Jasmine Nocentini will be right in the thick of it this year in the 100 BR. As good a chance as anyone.

Aragon Son of Arathorne
1 month ago

is NCAA’s also going to be next to impossible to stream live?

Reply to  Aragon Son of Arathorne
1 month ago

Well, it is the sport of swimming, so probably.

But I do hope not!

I miss the ISL (Go dawgs)
Reply to  Aragon Son of Arathorne
1 month ago

It’s fine on ESPN+, if you’re willing to pay for it.

Fraser Thorpe
1 month ago

For a regular mortal winning a single title would be one of their great career achievements – for many just making the final would be something to dine out on. Then there’s titans like the Walshes and Douglass who can fill a room with their collection – it’s impressive and been a fun gateway into the ncaas for those of us less familiar

Reply to  Fraser Thorpe
1 month ago

same for me! i like following different storylines, especially gwalsh and her bonkers times

1 month ago

Winner of the most ACC Championship titles……..’Winningest’ is not a word, and definitely not a clear or accurate way to describe something.

Reply to  torchbearer
1 month ago

you can Google what winningest means if you’re confused about it

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Save your energy, Braden. The Australians around here seem to have to hang their hat on just constantly bashing you for no good reason other than it makes them feel better about…being Australian? It’s weird, but seems that being pedantic is baked into the culture.

Reply to  fanofbritishswimming
1 month ago

me, an australian: oof

i’m not offended though, don’t worry 🙂

hopefully i don’t come across as rude on this sub, i apologise if i have in the past

Last edited 1 month ago by bubbles
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Bold to assume hs education

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Winningest by number of medals? Winningest by most golds? Winningest by use of placing ‘points’? Who is more Olympic winningest – Ledecky or McKeon (Ledecky more golds / Mckeon more medals)?

Of course it is in the dictionary – every utterance ends up recorded there. But this is in a journal of record, and should be as accurate as possible.

I have been an international journalist- with an Honours and Masters Degree in English and Communication. I can tell you no journal/ newspaper/ magazine/ website or report I have written would ever have accepted the use of the word ‘winningest’. Maybe some of you have more experience or expertise and can show its use in a professional publication?

Last edited 1 month ago by torchbearer
Mediocre Swammer
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Yours are better. I wasn’t sure how to search other than entering “winningest” and the News button and making a determination of which publications were “professional.” I got bored after page 2.

Anything but 50 BR
Reply to  torchbearer
1 month ago

“Winningest” clearly refers only to gold medals. You get a gold medal by WINNING a race. It’s literally in the word. Winningest -> winning most often.

Reply to  torchbearer
1 month ago

Homie backed off “isn’t a word” real quick lol.

Reply to  torchbearer
1 month ago

Ah, I was looking for this comment.
Language is alive. If we use it, it exists.

1 month ago

imagine telling a future employer that you won 26 ACC titles and then they say “no, that is a mickey mouse conference”

Reply to  Andrew
1 month ago

Mickey Mouse conference with three top 5 teams at NCAA’s last year and four of the top 10.

Aragon Son of Arathorne
1 month ago

I just want to see Gretchen translate into the long pool. We know Alex can.

I miss the ISL (Go dawgs)
Reply to  Aragon Son of Arathorne
1 month ago

I don’t think we can call someone with a 53.1 100 free and 56.3 100 fly PBs long course “not being able to translate” to long course, because she certainly can. Don’t conflate struggles at her first international senior meet with “not being able to do” long course. She’ll tell you herself she hasn’t been able to put it together when it counts in LC, but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the ability to. She seems very mentally strong lately, so I can see her breakthrough performance (not times) in LC pretty soon.

1 month ago

I guess I’m confused how both of them could have won the 200 IM the same year? 2021?

Second question. This list has 26 “wins” for KD. But the article says she only has 25. incorrect?

Reply to  Waypastwashedup
1 month ago

So, I looked it up. KD got 2nd to Alex in 2021. So, that is the error in Kate’s list.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »