Alex Walsh Torches ACC Meet Record In First 200 Fly Since NCAAs

2024 ACC SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

After having the day off on Thursday, Alex Walsh lit the pool on fire in the first heat of Friday morning’s session at the ACC Championships.

Swimming out of Heat 1 in the women’s 200 fly, entered with no time (“NT”) as she hadn’t raced the event this season, Walsh blasted her way to a time of 1:52.05, knocking nearly eight-tenths off the ACC Championship Record of 1:52.81 set by Louisville’s Grace Oglesby in 2019.

Walsh won her heat by more than nine seconds and qualified first into the final by nearly three, tying her preliminary swim from the 2023 NCAAs for her fourth-fastest ever.

Split Comparison

Oglesby, 2019 Walsh, 2023 NCAA Prelims Walsh, 2024 ACC Prelims
25.56 25.15 25.10
54.02 (28.46) 52.78 (27.63) 53.53 (28.43)
1:22.94 (28.92) 1:21.78 (29.00) 1:22.78 (29.25)
1:52.81 (29.87) 1:52.05 (30.27) 1:52.05 (29.27)

The 2022 national champion in the event, Walsh set her best time (and current ACC Record) in the 200 fly at last season’s NCAAs in 1:50.23, though she settled for the runner-up position after being run down by Texas’ Emma Sticklen on the last 50.

As we can see in the splits above, Walsh was aggressive in her NCAA prelim swim last season, a strategy that played out in the final. Given how comfortable she was this morning, and the fact that she came home a full second quicker on the last 50, we could see her get down into the 1:50s tonight.

Not including times produced across other conference meets this morning, Walsh’s prelim swim slots her into 4th in the nation so far this season, with three Texas Longhorns atop the leaderboard.

2023-24 NCAA Rankings, Women’s 200 Fly (SCY)

  1. Emma Sticklen (Texas), 1:50.31
  2. Kelly Pash (Texas), 1:51.22
  3. Olivia Bray (Texas), 1:51.81
  4. Alex Walsh (Virginia), 1:52.05
  5. Rachel Klinker (Cal), 1:52.33

Although Walsh could opt to race the 200 breast and win the NCAA title in that event this season with the graduation of former teammate Kate Douglass, another UVA swimmer, Ella Nelson, could win there as well, and it likely makes more sense for the Cavaliers points-wise to have Walsh take a run at the 200 fly crown.

This actually marks the first time Walsh has raced the 200 fly at ACCs. After winning the 200 IM and placing 3rd in the 200 back and 4th in the 100 breast as a freshman, she swept the 200 free, 200 breast and 200 IM in 2022 and then last season went three-for-three in the 200 free, 100 breast and 200 breast.

After scratching all of her entries on Thursday, the 22-year-old senior will race the 200 breast tomorrow in what could be her final individual ACC race. On Wednesday, she won the 200 IM conference title for the third time in 1:51.76, ranking her #1 in the country.

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Caleb
1 month ago

I don’t think it makes more sense point-wise, ’cause in the 200 breast she would be pretty guaranteed top 2 (if not winning) whereas in fly she could easily get 4th or 5th if she’s a bit off (I mean, she could win, too).

Swimfan27
1 month ago

I wonder if she’s still planning to swim it at NCAA’s, or if her doing it here is an indication that she may not? Or, did she just need to knock one out to get the NCAA cut?

doe
Reply to  Swimfan27
1 month ago

yes

Yikes
Reply to  Swimfan27
1 month ago

Historically Alex swims different events at each meet (except the IM), so I wouldn’t be surprised if she does the 2 breast. It’s a likely win where the 2 fly will be tightly contested. That said, she did say last year after losing to Sticklin that she wanted to work on her strategy and try again.

Last edited 1 month ago by Yikes
HOO love
Reply to  Yikes
1 month ago

She’s swimming the 200 breast tomorrow at ACC so unless she doubles up one day at NCAA or swims 200 back, she’s gonna repeat 200 fly or 200 breast

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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