Emma Atkinson’s 200 Back Ties Highest Women’s NCAA Finish In VT History


Freshman Emma Atkinson etched her name in Virginia Tech history on Saturday night at the 2021 Women’s NCAA Championships, tying the highest finish at the national meet by a woman in program history.

Atkinson placed fourth in the 200 backstroke final in a time of 1:50.43, equalling the finishing position of former Hokie Jessica Botzum at the 2007 NCAA Championships in the 200 breaststroke.

Atkinson’s time also marked her second VT school record and personal best on the day, having lowered her mark of 1:51.64 (set at ACCs) in the prelims down to 1:51.47 before taking a full second off of that tonight.

The 19-year-old’s swim was one in a handful of standout freshman in the 200 back, as four of the top five finishers were all first-years, led by national champion Phoebe Bacon of Wisconsin (1:48.32).

Atkinson opened her debut NCAA meet by narrowly missing her best time in the 200 freestyle leading off VT’s 800 free relay (1:45.72), and then on Day 2, scratched out of the 500 free before leading off the team’s 400 medley relay in a new school record of 51.44 in the 100 back. On Friday, she took 11th in the individual 100 back (51.65).

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3 years ago

Great swimming by Emma. It’s nice to see a big drop in her 2 back!
She has has some good coaching, finally.

Reply to  Mark
3 years ago

What is that supposed to mean? She had great coaches in high school- we’ve seen that throughout her high school career making significant drops. She’s in college now with new training and obviously that training is working for her, but also building off of her training in the past.

3 years ago

emma is my idol

Reply to  shark
3 years ago

Mine too 😍

3 years ago

Congrats to Emma on a tremendous NCAA meet! Her club and high school coaches at Germantown Acacemy, Jeff Thompson and Donny Brush, and Sergio and his Virginia Tech staff have done an awesome job of developing her talent.

Reply to  Guerra
3 years ago

Love this comment!! Not an indiana one for once 🙂

Peter Hero
3 years ago

Get a great freshmen and don’t improve his time for the upcoming years. Truly a Sergio move!

giant turtle
Reply to  Peter Hero
3 years ago

not really sure about that…he’s coached many great athletes so i don’t think that will be the case here. everyone hates sergio because everyone is scared of what he can do.

Reply to  giant turtle
3 years ago

you do not rise to that level by being nice, part of the game, we just rarely hear about it and then crucify those who few who get called out

Reply to  Peter Hero
3 years ago

I don’t understand this comment. Emma was 1:53.0 out of high school and went 1:50.4 tonight. That’s a pretty stiff improvement.

Reply to  Peter Hero
3 years ago

I don’t understand the Sergio hate. If you had ever met him, you’d know he’s someone who cares about his athletes. VT has had a lot of “firsts” thanks to him and his staff.

3 years ago

Go Hokies!!!!!

Slower Than You
3 years ago

Something tells me she might be pretty good.

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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