UVA v NC State (Women)
- Saturday, January 22, 2022
- Aquatic & Fitness Center, Charlottesville, VA
- Dual Meet Format
- Live Results on Meet Mobile as “Virginia vs. NC State”
- Full Results
- Score: Virginia 173, NC State 122
Avoiding recent cancellations that other teams have seen this weekend due to Covid or weather concerns, the NC State Wolfpack made the short trek north to Charlottesville, VA, to take on the Cavaliers in their home pool in a battle of the top two teams from last year’s ACC and NCAA Championships.
While NC State should once again be a force to be reckoned with at both ACCs and NCAAs, they weren’t able to come close to a dual meet win, as the Cavalier women handily defeated the Wolfpack 173-122, with Virginia exhibitioning several events. Five women doubled for the Cavaliers, accounting for most of the individual victories. According to those at the meet, the vast majority of the competitors were wearing practice suits, with only a couple UVA seniors who will not be competing at ACCs wearing tech suits today.
The biggest performances of the day came from Virginia freshman Gretchen Walsh, who set an unofficial American Record leading off the Cavaliers’ 200 medley relay with a 23.04, moving her to the #2 performer all-time in the 50 yard back.
The rest of the relay built off of Walsh’s stunning leadoff. Alexis Wenger split 26.89 on breast, then Alex Walsh split 22.82 on fly, before Kate Douglass anchored in 20.99, totaling a 1:33.74, setting a new pool record. That time is actually faster than UVA went at 2021 NCAAs, when they finished 2nd to NC State, 1:33.18 to 1:34.13, but its still about a second shy of the overall record of 1:32.93 that the Cavaliers set at last year’s ACC championships.
Walsh later earned two individual victories with a 50.61 in the 100 back, setting a new lifetime best and a pool record, then a 48.05 in the 100 free.
Gretchen’s sister Alex Walsh also doubled, winning the 200 fly in 1:54.76 and the 200 IM in 1:56.35. The latter event was technically exhibitioned, so NC State earned all the points, but Walsh’s time stands as a new pool record. Walsh’s fellow 200 IM Olympic medalist Kate Douglass stuck to shorter events today. She won the 50 free, the event in which she is the defending NCAA champion, in 21.85, and then she won the 100 fly in 51.30, setting a season-best time for her in the 100 fly and an AFC pool record.
Another Tokyo Olympian, Emma Weyant, swept the distance freestyle events. She got her day going with a 9:47.00 in the 1000 free, then completed the double with a 4:47.18 in the 500 free. Ella Nelson was the other Cavalier with a pair of wins, taking the 200 free in 1:47.15 and the 200 breast in 2:08.94. UVA has a deep crew of 200 breaststrokers — and Douglas just went 2:05 yesterday — but it’s worth remembering that a 2:08.9 would’ve been just outside of scoring range at NCAAs last year, where Nelson finished 2nd with a 2:04.35.
Alexis Wenger was UVA’s final individual winner, as she got under a minute to win the 100 breast in 59.39.
UVA wrapped up the day by setting a pool record in the 200 free relay. Gretchen Walsh (22.00), Alex Walsh (22.04), Lexi Cuomo (22.42) and Kate Douglass (21.29) combined for a 1:27.75. That time would rank 6th in the NCAA this season, although the Cavaliers already own the 2nd-fastest time of the season with a 1:26.61 from the Tennessee.
In total, the Virginia women broke 5 pool records:
- Women’s 200 Medley Relay (Gretchen Walsh, Alexis Wenger, Alex Walsh, Kate Douglass) – 1:33.74
- Women’s 100 back (Gretchen Walsh) – 50.61
- Women’s 100 fly (Kate Douglass) – 51.30
- Women’s 200 IM (Alex Walsh) – 1:56.35
- Women’s 200 Free Relay (Gretchen Walsh, Alex Walsh, Lexi Cuomo, Kate Douglass) – 1:27.75
The Wolfpack women only picked up one outright win, not taking into account wins from events that UVA exhibtioned. That lone victory came courtesy of Katharine Berkoff, who held off UVA’s Reily Tiltmann to win the 200 back 1:53.26 to 1:53.94. Those two swimmers should duel in this event at both ACCs and NCAAs, where last year Tiltmann finished 5th and Berkoff finished 6th. Today, Berkoff also finished 2nd to Gretchen Walsh in the 100 back, touching in 51.71.
Kylee Alons had a pair of strong performances, taking 2nd in both the 50 free (22.62) and the 100 fly (52.94). Likewise, Auburn transfer Abbey Webb had a pair of runner-up efforts, placing 2nd in the 200 free (1:47.28) and the 100 free (50.21).
Notably, NC State was without NCAA champion Sophie Hansson, but especially if she’s back for championship season, the Wolfpack should be the prohibitive favorites to finish 2nd behind the Cavaliers at ACCs, and should also be in the mix to defend their 2nd-place finish at NCAAs.