Douglass Splits 57.8 LCM Fly, Makhija Earns Four Wins, As UVA Sweeps Auburn

by Robert Gibbs 8

January 05th, 2020 ACC, College, SEC

Auburn vs. Virginia

  • Saturday, January 4, 2020
  • James E. Martin Aquatic Center, Auburn, AL.
  • Dual Meet Format
  • Full Results
  • Scores:
    • Women: Virginia 253, Auburn 195
    • Men: Virginia 235, Auburn 213

Women’s Recap

The Virginia Cavalier women, #3 in our latest round of power rankings, defeated #11 Auburn 253-195 in a two session dual meet that featured both SCY and LCM sessions at Auburn Saturday.

Four women – senior Paige Madden, junior Abby Richter, and freshmen Kate Douglass and Ella Nelson – led the way with multiple individual wins for UVA.

After a first half of a season where Douglass was among the nation’s leaders in a bevy of events, the freshman picked up right where she left off. She first anchored UVA’s medley relay in 21.57, then blasted a 53.40 in the 100 IM. That’s not an event we usually see in a college dual meet, or often at all in the highest levels of swimming, but for what’s it worth, a quick search of the SWIMS database only turned up one legitimate time faster than Douglass’s, a 53.02 by Katie Meili from 2014. Douglass also won the 100 yard free in 48.27, the 50m free in 25.18, took 2nd in the 100m free in 55.75, and perhaps most impressively of all, threw down a 57.80 fly split on UVA’s 400m medley relay.

Madden won both the 200 freestyle (1:46.12) and the 500 (4:43.85) in short course, and in the long course sessions, won the 300 freestyle (3:07.92) after missing out on another win by the narrowest of margins, taking 2nd in the 200 to Auburn’s Abbey Webb, 2:00.55 to 2:00.56.

Nelson won the 400 yard IM (4:12.73) and the 200 breast (2:12.49), and took 2nd in the 200m IM (2:18.31). Richter earned wins in the 200 yard fly (1:58.46) and that 200m IM (2:18.22) after finishing 2nd behind Nelson in the 400 IM (4:17.51).

Sophomore Emily Hetzer led Auburn with victories in the 1000 yard free (9:48.27) and the 600m free (6:28.67), and took 2nd behind Madden in both the 500 yard free (4:44.53) and the 300m free (3:09.63).

Senior sprinters Julie Meynen and Claire Fisch also had some strong time for the Tigers. Fisch anchored Auburn’s 200 yard medley relay in 22.17; results also show her with a 21.14 split on Auburn’s victorious 200 yard free relay, although at least two of the other splits indicate that that results may not be accurate. She also finished 2nd to Douglass with a 25.51 in the 50m free.

Meynen also anchored an Auburn relay with a 22-low (22.04), then won the 100m free with a 55.53 and led off Auburn’s 4x100m free relay with a 55.75.

Men’s Recap

Auburn sophomore Aryan Makhija earned a whopping four individual event titles, and Auburn kept things closer than on the women’s side, but UVA ultimately pulled out the win, 235 to 213.

Makhija won the 1000 free in 9:15.59 and the 500 free in 4:30.85, with UVA freshman Jack Walker (9:18.48/4:31.13) earning 2nd in both races. Makhija completed the distance sweep with LCM victories in the 600 free (6:11.28) and the 300 (2:58.44) in the 2nd session.

While the Cavaliers didn’t have any one swimmer who was able to match Makjija’s four individual victories, they did have three different swimmers capture two individual titles each. Sam Schilling won the 200 yard free (1:37.85) and the 100m free (51.07), and also had the only sub-50 split in the 400m free relay with 49.83 anchor.

Casey Storch took the 400 yard IM in 3:56.38 before capturing the 200m IM (2:04.57) in the second session, while Justin Grender also got victory in each format, winning the 200 yard back in 1:45.27 and the 100m back in 57.03.

Auburn Release

AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn’s perfect record in dual meets came to an end for both the men’s and women’s teams Saturday, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. The Tigers battled through the two-session home meet against Virginia and never gave up.

The Auburn women suffered a 253-195 loss to No. 3 Virginia while the men nearly rallied in the second session to beat No. 15 Virginia before falling, 235-213.

“To me, it’s all about laying yourself on the line for Auburn,” Auburn head coach Gary Taylor said. “Regardless of outcome, did you give it everything you had? Can you look your coaches in the eyes and be proud of your effort and your performance? And I saw a lot of that tonight.

“That’s what I want to see from this Auburn program. We don’t roll over. We don’t quit. We keep fighting. It would have been a really easy day to cash the chips in and call it a day, and they didn’t. I think that’s something that we can continue to build off of.”


Sophomore Emily Hetzer earned the first victory of the day for the Tigers with a first-place finish in the 1,000 freestyle. Hetzer swam a 9:48.27 in the event, and then turned around and finished the 500 free in 4:44.53 to finish second.

Teammate Sonnele Oeztuerk also picked up a win for the women’s team in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:56.66.

On the men’s side, sophomore Aryan Makhija won both distance events (500 and 1,000 free) to earn 18 points for Auburn. It was also a standout performance from freshman Jack Armstrong who won the 100 free (44.69) and then swam the second leg in the 200 medley relay that took first place.

“Jack put himself in a position to win the 100 by going out the front 50,” Taylor said. “He fought hard at the end. He may have faded, but he found a way to get his hand on the wall first. And then you saw him respond again in the 200 free relay – those men capping off with a 1-3 finish in the 200 free relay was really big for our teams.”


In the second session, Hetzer once again helped the Auburn women start strong with a win in the 600 free. Freshman Abbey Webb followed that with another win in the next event, the 200 free, as she finished in 2:00.55 on the long course.

The highlight, however, came from senior Julie Meynen who won the 100 free (55.53) and also swam on the two relays, the 400 medley and the 400 free, that both turned in Auburn long-course team records. The 400 free relay of Meynen, Claire Fisch, Abbey Webb and Jessica Merritt finished in 3:45.06 to set the program record and earn first place.

The Auburn men also started fast with wins from Makhija (600 free), Christian Sztolcman (200 free) and Santiago Grassi (50 free) in the first three individual events of the night. Two events later, Grassi picked up another win in the 100 butterfly, finishing in 54.18, and for the first time in the meet, the Tigers took the lead.

“Santi had a big-time relay split early and then he wins the 50 free, which started to swing the meet our direction,” Taylor said. “He gets a big win in the 100 fly, and we actually took the lead at that point.”

Ultimately, Virginia pulled away over the final five events, but not without another first-place finish from Makhija in the 300 free, making it four wins in the four distance races.

Virginia Release

Auburn, Ala. –  The Virginia men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams swept Auburn in the program’s first dual meet of 2020 on Saturday (Jan.4) at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center in Auburn, Ala.

The No. 3 Virginia women’s swimming and diving team defeated No. 14 Auburn 253-195, while the No. 15 Cavalier men won with a score of 235-213 against the No. 23. Tigers.

The Cavaliers won 14 of 22 short course events during the morning session with three UVA swimmers capturing a win in more than one event. During the night’s long course session, freshman Kate Douglass (Pelham, N.Y.) set a UVA record in the 50-meter freestyle, winning the event with a time of 25.18 to help the Cavaliers capture 13 of 22 long course events.

At Auburn- Short Course
Junior Paige Madden (Mobile, Ala.) captured wins in the 200 and 500-yard freestyle. Madden recorded a time of 1:46.12 in the 200-yard freestyle, winning the event by over two seconds, and a time of 4:43.85 in the 500-yard freestyle.

Douglass paced the 100-yard individual medley, topping the event by three seconds with a time of 53.40. She followed with a win in the 100-yard freestyle, capturing a time of 48.27.

Freshman Ella Nelson (Nashville, Tenn.) recorded a pair of wins during the morning session. She finished with a four second gap over the competition in the 400-yard individual medley, recording a time of 4:12.73, before swimming a time of 2:12.49 in the 200-yard breaststroke to win the event.

Additionally, junior Abby Richter (Henderson, Nev.) captured another win for the women’s team, topping the 200-yard butterfly with time of 1:58.46. The Cavalier men had five swimmers win an event as junior Samuel Schilling (Excelsior, Minn.) won the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:37.85, freshman Sean Conway (Round Hill, Va.) won the 100-yard individual medley with a time of 50.50, sophomore Casey Storch (Great Falls, Va.) won the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 3:56.38, sophomore Justin Grender (Cincinnati, Ohio) won the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:45.27 and junior Matthew Otto (Newark, Del.) won the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:58.45.

Virginia also swept the 200-yard medley relay with junior Caroline Gmelich (Rumson, N.J.), sophomore Alexis Wenger (Detroit, Mich.), freshman Lexi Cuomo (Clifton, Va.) and Douglass finishing first with a time of 1:38.90, and senior Joe Clark (Worcester Park, Great Britain), junior Keefer Barnum(Louisville, Ky.), junior Cooper Wozencraft (Houston, Texas) and senior Ryan Baker (Arlington, Va.) swimming a time of 1:28.53 to edge Auburn for the top time on the men’s side.

Tennessee Diving Invite
At the Tennessee Diving Invitational at the Jones Aquatic Center, senior Sydney Dusel (Naperville, Ill.) finished second on the 3m board, recording a score of 350.60. She won the preliminary round with a score 350.65. Junior Jocelyn Porter (Cornelius, N.C.) and freshman Jennifer Bell (Pelham, N.Y.) finished inside the top eighth as Porter placed seventh with a score of 289.10 and Bell placed eighth with a score of 280.95.

In the men’s 1m dive, sophomore Jake Greenberg (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) recorded a score of 291.75 to finish 10th in the event.

Results from Friday and Saturday’s prelims at the Tennessee Diving Invitational were added to team’s dual meet score against Auburn.

“The women’s 3m event today might have been the most fun I have ever experienced coaching,” head diving coach Drew Livingston said. “I’m so proud of our women. You could see each one of our divers feeding off of one another and pushing the team forward. That shared attitude resulted in a NCAA Zone cut for Charlotte Bowen and four of our women making it through to the finals. Finishing with three women in the top eight of a stacked field is a big statement for what we can do this year.

“Jake (Greenberg) has done a great job this weekend as well. Making it through to the finals on both springboard events is a big step in the right direction for Jake. I’m excited to see how our men and women carry this momentum forward tomorrow to platform.”

At Auburn- Long Course
During the long course session against the Tigers, Virginia opened the meet with Gmelich, Wenger, Douglass and Madden swimming a time of 4:08.86 to win the women’s 400-meter medley relay, while Grender, Barnum, Wozencraft and Schilling won the men’s race with a time of 3:42.88.

In addition to Douglass’s win in the 50-meter freestyle, the Cavalier women captured wins from Richter in the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 2:18.22, sophomore Jessica Nava (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) in the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 1:00.58, redshirt senior Megan Moroney(Deerfield Beach, Fla.) in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 1:03.04, Madden in the 300-meter freestyle with a time 3:07.92 and Wenger in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:11.46.

The UVA men’s team recorded wins from Storch with a time of 2:04.57 in the men’s 200-meter individual medley, Schilling with a time of 51.07 in the 100-meter freestyle, Grender with a time of 57.03 in the 100-meter backstroke and Barnum with a time of 1:02.85 in the 100-meter breaststroke.

The Cavaliers closed the night with Baker, freshman Konnar Klinksiek (San Antonio, Texas), Clark and Schilling winning the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay with a time of 3:24.08.

Thoughts from Todd DeSorbo
“We had a great day down in Auburn,” head coach Todd DeSorbo said. “Their head coach is one of my really great friends, Gary Taylor, and (he) runs a great program and they have a great coaching staff that does a really good job. They are a great team and they competed hard and gave our team a really good run. I think both teams really stepped up, especially, in this time of year when there is some really intense training going on. Both teams were really excited and had a lot of fun racing today, and there was a lot of energy on both sides of the pool deck.

“The women had some standout swims from Kate Douglass, Paige Madden and Ella Nelson, who had her first ever college dual meet wins this morning when she won the 400 IM and the 200 breaststroke. Justin (Grender) and Casey (Storch) had a phenomenal day as well and were big time leaders for us. Casey did a 400 IM and 200 butterfly double for us, back-to-back, which is probably one of the toughest doubles I’ve seen somebody do. Abby (Richter) also did that 400 IM and 200 butterfly double this morning. That just shows a lot a toughness from them. I also want to mention Jess Nava, who bounced back from injury, and it’s exciting to see her healthy, happy and improving. Sam Schilling had a really great day, winning the 200 free this morning then winning the 100 free this afternoon, and just being a complete animal in the relays as well. There are really too many names to say them all, because it really was a complete team effort which is what we were striving to accomplish this year. Just being a well-rounded, great team with everyone performing at a high level and everyone contributing, and we really saw that today. We were really pleased with that.

“The divers were in Tennessee and were competing against Auburn at their invitational. We definitely had some great performances there as well. Sydney (Dusel) is really coming into her own in her last year with us, qualifying for Olympic Trials a few weeks back and hitting her stride today and yesterday on both boards. We have a young group of guys on the boards that are learning a lot and improving really quickly. I’m really happy for the divers and coach Drew (Livingston). He’s done a great job with them. There are a lot of first and second-years that are learning, growing and improving rapidly. Great day for the Hoos. Looking forward to heading over the Blacksburg in a couple of weeks to face Virginia Tech.”

Return to Action
The Cavalier divers will conclude the Tennessee Diving Invitational on Sunday at the Jones Aquatic Center. Both the men and women will compete on the platform with events beginning at 10:30 a.m.


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3 years ago

Meet mobile kinda freaked out for this meet

3 years ago

Makhija has actually been in Auburn for over a year now.

3 years ago

pretty sure Jack Armstrong didn’t swim the second leg of a medley relay.

Just sayin’…..

3 years ago

Massive swim

Lane 8
3 years ago

2020 contender?

Bobo Gigi
Reply to  Lane 8
3 years ago

To make the team in the 100 fly?
Right now I pick Huske and Dahlia but Douglass will be dangerous too. At this point she’s still better in SCY.

Go heelz
3 years ago


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