UVA BLUE VS. ORANGE INTRASQUAD
- October 1, 2022
- SCY (25 Yards)
- Charlottesville, Virginia
- Full Results
On Saturday, the University of Virginia held its annual blue vs. orange intrasquad meet to open up the 2022-23 NCAA season. The orange team came out victorious, beating out the blue team 282 to 224. The meet event lineup consisted of 50 and 150-yard races of all four strokes, a 300 free and IM, a 600 free, a 100 IM, and one/three-meter diving events for both men and women. In addition, there was also be a mixed 200 medley class relay (freshmen vs. sophomores vs. juniors vs. seniors) and a mixed 200 free relay between the blue and orange teams.
200 Medley Relay:
- Second Years, 1:30.56 — G. Walsh (23.39), Worth (24.23), Connery (20.69), Tiltmann (22.25)
- Third Years, 1:30.62 — Brownstead (22.17), Nichols (23.55), A. Walsh (22.65), Parker (22.25)
- Fourth Years, 1:30.83 — Edwards (21.96), Lamb (24.59), Cuomo (23.42), Douglass (20.86)
- First Years, 1:33.83 — Gilhool (23.02), Muhammad (24.67), Noveline (23.77), Skirboll (22.27)
There was an extremely tight race in the mixed 200 medley class relay, but the second years ultimately came out victorious in a time of 1:30.56. A big-time leg for the second years was from sophomore Gretchen Walsh, who led off with a 23.39 50 back. Walsh has been as fast as 22.81 in the event (the second-fastest time in history), but her 23.39 today would have been the fifth-fastest leadoff leg in the 200 medley relay at 2022 NCAAs, just trailing herself, Katharine Berkoff (22.76), Maggie MacNeil (23.07), and Rhyan White (23.35).
Another impressive split came from sophomore Tim Connery, who went 20.69 in the 50 fly to help the second years to victory. Connery made his UVA debut at this meet, as he spent his freshman season with the University of Texas. In a post-race interview, he said that his reason for transferring was to be closer to his home in North Carolina.
Powering the fourth years was Kate Douglass, who anchored with a 20.86 freestyle split—a time that nobody besides her and Gretchen Walsh were able to split faster than at 2022 NCAAs. To be splitting 20-point in October is wild, but considering that Douglass has been as fast as 20.84 off a flat start, it’s no surprise that she can be this fast early on in the season.
200 Free Relay:
- Orange, 1:22.71— Brownstead (20.37), Lamb (19.56), A. Walsh (21.86), G. Walsh (20.92)
- Blue, 1:26.85 — King (20.00), Boyle (19.81), Novelline (22.11), Douglass (24.93)
The Orange team secured victory of the meet by winning the last event, the mixed 200 free relay. Gretchen Walsh had an impressive performance on anchor, splitting a time of 20.92 that was (once again) faster than anyone besides her and Douglass at NCAAs. Douglass was probably capable of splitting something as fast as Walsh, but she reportedly faded in the back end of her race due to a bad cramp and went 24.93.
Senior August Lamb split a formidable 19.56, which was the fastest time amongst the men.
Freshman Claire Tuggle kicked things off with a dominant 600 free performance, where she won by nearly two seconds in a time of 5:47.84. She also claimed victory in the 300 free, swimming a 2:47.51. Tuggle emerged onto the national scene as a 14 year old, hitting best times of 1:44.96 and 4:41.36 in the summer of 2018. She’s been struggling to hit those times ever since, but her performances today indicate that she’s primed for a second yards breakout in college. In fact, junior Anna Keating mentioned Tuggle when she was asked in a post-race interview about who she’s been impressed with so far this season.
Another newcomer winning events was graduate transfer Jaycee Yegher, who just edged out freshman Zoe Skirboll in the 50 breast by 0.12 seconds, putting up a 27.86. Yegher, who swam at Harvard for three season, is competing for the first time since the 2021 Olympic trials as she missed the entirety of the 2021-22 NCAA season due to a shoulder injury. In fact, she’s actually swimming her first NCAA season since the 2019-20 season because the Ivy League cancelled all sports in the 2020-21 season.
Yegher was also second in the 150 breast with a time of 1:35.11, although that event was won by Alex Walsh who went 1:34.61. Last year, Walsh set the meet record in this event with a 1:33.45.
Alex Walsh also won the 300 IM in dominant fashion, going a 3:01.83 that was just less than a second off her meet record of 3:00.90 from last year.
There was a close race between Walsh and Kate Douglass in the 150 fly with the lead changing several times throughout the race, but Walsh ended up out-touching Douglass 1:22.46 to 1:22.80.
The battle between Walsh and Douglass in the 150 fly was interesting because Douglass is defending NCAA champion in the 100 fly whereas Walsh is the defending NCAA champion in the 200 fly. Their strengths were evident as shown through their pacing, as Douglass went out very fast and split 25.58/28.59/28.63 but Walsh had more to give in her back end and split 26.55/27.25/28.66. Walsh and Douglass also raced each other in the 100 IM, where Douglass won and went the second-fastest time ever in the event at 52.73.
Douglass also had wins in the 50 fly (23.05) and 50 free (21.43), with her 50 free time taking 0.05 seconds off her meet record time of 21.48 from last year. Finishing behind her in the 50 free was Gretchen Walsh, who clocked a 21.77. Douglass and Walsh’s times would have placed fourth and tenth at 2022 NCAAs respectively. They are the fastest and third-fastest performers in the history of the event, as Douglass has been as fast as 20.84 and Walsh has been as fast as 20.95.
In a post-race interview, Douglass confirmed that she would be going to short course worlds this December and will be swimming the 200 breast. She also said she plans to train at Virginia in the 2023-24 NCAA season, but wasn’t sure if she would be using her fifth year of eligibility or not.
Gretchen Walsh also broke a meet record in the 50 back, swimming a 23.69 to beat out her old mark of 23.86 from last year. She also won the 150-yard free by nearly two seconds, clocking a 1:15.91. However, she was beaten out in the 150 back, where sophomore Reilly Tiltmann won by over two seconds with a 1:23.65.
Senior Jennifer Bell was the winner of the 3-meter diving event, scoring a total of 288.75 points.
A big standout performer on the men’s side of the meet was sophomore Jack Aikins. He swam a 19.73 to win the 50 free, beating out Matt King (19.83) and Matt Brownstead (20.20), the two fastest sprinters in program history. In fact, Aikins was just 0.01 seconds off of Brownstead’s meet record time of 19.72 from 2020. His best time in the event is a 19.12, which he clocked at ACCs last season.
Aikins also won the 100 IM in a time of 49.22, and him and junior Noah Nichols (49.41) were the only two under 50 seconds in that race.
Nichols had a few strong races of his own, including the 50 breast which he won in 24.27, taking nearly fourth tenths off Casey Barnum’s meet record time of 24.64. Nichols also won the 150 breast, clocking a 1:24.77.
Propelled by a strong first and last 50, King beat Brownstead in the 150 free 1:09.11 to 1:09.54. He split 21.77/24.21/23.13 in his race compared to Brownstead’s 22.01/24.06/23.47.
Freshmen went 1-2 in the 150 fly, as Kamal Muhammad won in 1:17.72 and Sebastian Sergile touched second in 1:20.21. Muhammad, the son of short course world championships medalist and former NCAA record holder Sabir Muhammad, is an extremely versatile addition for UVA as he is strong in free, fly and IM. He spoke in his post-race interview about how he thought he could have gone faster in the 150 fly, and also discussed training with Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin in Hawaii for a few months last year. He was supposed to come to Virginia in the 2021-22 season but decided to take a gap year, reclassifying into the high school class of 2022.
Senior Max Edwards had a big swim in the 50 back, winning in 21.78 and being the only swimmer under 22 seconds in the race. His time broke Joe Clark’s meet record of 21.98, which was set back in 2019.
In addition, Edwards also won the 50 fly with a 21.49.
The 150 back was dominated by junior Will Cole, who went a 1:15.58 to win the race by over three seconds.
In the 300 IM, it was sophomore Max Iida who won in 2:51.63, beating out sophomore Matt Styczen by just under half a second.
Junior Olivier Mills won the 3-meter diving event, scoring 307.50 points.
Notably not competing at this meet were seniors Josh Fong and Sean Conway, who are both NCAA qualifiers. Fong is out on concussion protocol, and Conway is recovering from a lower spine injury that he endured in warmup around a month ago.