Kate Douglass Swims a New Personal Best in the 100 Back as UVA Rolls UNC

by Anya Pelshaw 36

January 21st, 2022 ACC, College, News, Previews & Recaps

UVA Def. UNC (Women’s Recap)

  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
  • January 21, 2022
  • Meet Mobile: “Virginia vs. North Carolina”
  • Full Swimming Results (PDF)
  • Full Diving Results (PDF)
  • Women’s Scoring:
    • Virginia 168-UNC 126

Full men’s recap to follow.

UVA hosted UNC on Friday, January 21st in a co-ed dual meet. This used to be the most-heated rivalry in the ACC, though some of that intensity has waned in recent years as NC State and Virginia have battled for conference titles.

The UVA women are coming off of a win over rivals Virginia Tech last weekend. UNC had their meet against NC State postponed last weekend due to COVID-19 protocols.

The UVA women cruised to a 168-126 victory over UNC. The UVA women won 10 out of 14 events, and they exhibitioned races after the 100 butterfly. 

UVA started the meet off strong going 1-2 in their 400 medley relays. The ‘A’ relay of Kate Douglass (51.84), Alexis Wenger (58.46), Gretchen Walsh (51.72), and Reilly Tiltmann (49.88) won in a time of 3:31.90. Douglass, Wenger, and Tiltmann were all members of the 400 medley relay that placed second at the 2021 NCAA Championships. The school’s ‘B’ relay of Ella Bathurst (54.81), Alex Walsh (58.56), Lexi Cuomo (53.74), and Kate Morris (50.40) swam a total time of 3:37.51. 

For the versatile Douglass, who is the defending Olympic bronze medalist in the 200 IM, that time in the 100 back is a new personal best. It drops half-a-second off her old best time of 52.39 that was done on a relay leadoff against UNC two seasons ago: a meet with similar timing.

While Douglass rarely swims backstroke races on taper, she continues to show off an incredible versatility that makes her arguably the most valuable swimmer in the NCAA. Improvements in her backstroke races makes her international prospects even scarier: at the Olympics, the backstroke leg was her biggest weakness. Her split in the final was 33.93. That’s as compared to 32.68 for her teammate Alex Walsh who got silver, and 32.50 for Japan’s Yui Ohashi, who took gold.

In fact, Douglass had the slowest backstroke split in the final by more than four-tenths of a second. 

Her time from Friday morning ranks her 15th in the NCAA this season Only her freshman teammate Gretchen Walsh (50.89, 51.12, 51.15) and World Record holder Maggie MacNeil (51.46) have been faster in dual meets this season.

Madelyn Donohoe, a junior, continued the momentum for UVA as she won the 1000 freestyle in a time of 10:16.65. That time was off of her time from last weekend at Virginia Tech as she went a 10:00.69 then. Junior Ella Nelson finished second in a time of 10:28.79. This was Nelson’s first time swimming the 1000 all season.

The wins for UVA did not stop there as the Cavaliers went on to sweep the 200 freestyle. Sophomore Alex Walsh went on to win the event in a time of 1:46.64. This was her first time racing the event all season, but last season at the NCAA Championships she finished fourth in a time of 1:43.61. Freshman Reilly Tiltmann, who spent the spring semester at UVA last year, earned a second place finish in a time of 1:48.43. This was half of a second ahead of what she went last weekend at Virginia Tech (1:48.93). Freshman Emma Weyant completed the sweep earning a third place finish in a time of 1:49.13. 

UVA also went on to sweep the 100 breaststroke. Junior Kate Douglass won the event in a time of 59.48. This was her fastest dual-meet swim in the event of the season so far. Senior Alexis Wenger earned a second place finish with a time of 59.73. Wenger finished third in the event at the 2021 NCAA Championships with a time of 57.67. Sophomore Anna Keating finished off the sweep swimming a time of 1:01.64. This was almost a second faster than last weekend for Keating as at Virginia Tech she went a 1:02.59. 

The Walsh sisters showed off their sprinting abilities as Gretchen won the 50 freestyle in a time of 22.03. She almost won the event by a second as second place finisher Olivia Nel (UNC) swam a time of 23.01. Alex Walsh won the 100 freestyle in a time of 48.59. She was the only swimmer to go under-49 seconds. 

UVA continued their breaststroke dominance sweeping the 200 breaststroke as well. Douglass won the event in a time of 2:05.67. Douglass holds the top time in the NCAA this season with a time of 2:03.58 from midseason. This, however, was another dual-meet-best time for her. Wenger earned a second place finish with a time of 2:12.63, and Keating finished the sweep with a time of 2:14.77. 

Grace Countie led the way for UNC as the senior earned an individual victory in the 100 backstroke with a time of 52.35. That was a season best for Countie as she swam a time of 52.91 at midseason. Countie also earned a second place finish in the 100 freestyle with a time of 49.01 behind winner Alex Walsh. 

Senior Sophie Lindner picked up another win for the Tar Heels winning the 200 backstroke in a time of 1:56.11. That ties her season best which she swam at midseason. Lindner swam a time of 1:52.69 in the event at the 2021 NCAA Championships to earn her a 13th place finish. 

Mia Duus, a freshman, won the 400 IM for the Tar Heels in a time of 4:20.47. Duus swam a time of 4:15.36 at midseason earning her the NCAA ‘B’ cut and placing her 60th in the NCAA this season.

Other first-place finishes include:

  • 200 butterfly: Abby Harter, UVA (1:58.11)
  • 500 freestyle: Carter Bristow, UVA (4:57.55)
  • 100 butterfly: Gretchen Walsh, UVA (52.43)
  • 200 freestyle relay: UNC (1:30.69)

UNC’s next meet is scheduled for Friday, January 28th at Duke. UVA has their next meet scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday, January 22nd against NC State in Charlottesville.

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All the hype
3 months ago

WHY are you writing about 10:18’s in the 1000 free? Thats not even a winter junior time. So many others that you could be promoting like Bathurst or Tillman…And, why didn’t the silver medalist, Weyant, go for the 400IM record?

Amy
3 months ago

NCAAs are going to be SO GOOD this year! Can’t wait.

Moonlight
3 months ago

Kate is phenomenal. So fun to watch her swim. The Tracey Caulkins of 2022!!

Katie Legoatkey
Reply to  Moonlight
3 months ago

why does this have so many downvotes??

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Katie Legoatkey
3 months ago

Kate Douglas is no Tracy Caulkins. Not even close.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
3 months ago

True. Caulkins was a multi-generational, all-time talent. Probably the most versatile swimmer next to Phelps the planet has ever produced. Maybe the most versatile period. 63 frickin American records, including 100 free, 500 free, 100 breast, 200 breast, 200 back, 200 IM, 400 IM, and won the 200 fly at NCAAs. So the best U.S. woman in an event in every stroke. Kate is a generational talent. That’s not too shabby.

swimapologist
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
3 months ago

And unless she finds a way to rewind and be born in the 1960s or 1970s, she never will be, amiright?

Terry Watts
3 months ago

Smokin!

Liz
3 months ago

Why so many exhibition races?

Admin
Reply to  Liz
3 months ago

College coaches often do this to artificially keep team scores close. At some point, long before my time, swim coaches collectively decided that this was the definition of “sportsmanship.”

Except for that one time a team exhibitioned their way to a loss. I’m positive that isn’t “sportsmanship.”

oldandretired
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 months ago

Should just crush the other team by as much as possible instead

thezwimmer
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 months ago

What was “that one time”?

Liz
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 months ago

Thanks! Does that mean any cuts they get in those races wouldn’t count?

Editor
Reply to  Liz
3 months ago

Liz – the cuts should stand whether or not the races were exhibitioned.

Swimmerj
3 months ago

I really hope Kate swims the 200 breast at NCs, I bet she could take down King’s record. By a lot. They can put Gretchen in the 100 free, though I think there is a case to be made for Gretchen to swim 5 relays due to how valuable she is and the loss of Madden and Valls on the 800, I think Gretchen has been 1:43 and I’m sure she could bring that down.

Joel Lin
Reply to  Swimmerj
3 months ago

I would not be shocked if Gretchen Walsh & Tori Huske are both under the American record in the 100 free & also would not be shocked if they finish 2 & 3 in this event to MM. That event is going to be crazy fast.

oxyswim
Reply to  Joel Lin
3 months ago

We haven’t seen anything suggesting Walsh and Huske are headed for 45 low.

Katie Legoatkey
Reply to  oxyswim
3 months ago

If anyone’s going 45 it’s Maggie not either of them

Breezeway
Reply to  Joel Lin
3 months ago

45 low? 😂

Greg
Reply to  Swimmerj
3 months ago

I don’t think it’s a good case. In a very generous scenario having GW on the 800 free relay moves them up from 3rd to 1st. That’s 8 points difference. Versus even just finishing 5th in a 3rd event is 14 points. Likely having GW on that relay improves their time by 1-2 seconds and doesn’t affect their place more than one spot, maybe not at all.

The 2 individual, 5 relay event situation only works when the swimmer doesn’t have a strong 3rd event or the team doesn’t have depth. Neither are true in this situation.

Breezeway
Reply to  Swimmerj
3 months ago

She’ll get 2nd place points

swimfast
Reply to  Swimmerj
3 months ago

I think their coaches may have possibly undermined her 200 breast as her best. She was so versatile that her 2:03 seemed just like the rest but since then I think it’s shined through to be, now, the superlative of her repertoire. I think she needs to be built up as a 200 breaststroker and less of a sprint freestyler even though of course her sprinting ability is second to none.

Last edited 3 months ago by swimfast
lawd have mercy
3 months ago

screw the 100 back—2:05.6 200 BREAST!?!?!?!?! AT A DUAL MEET!!! UNTAPERED!!!! NO SUIT!!!!

swimfast
Reply to  lawd have mercy
3 months ago

I have to say Douglass throws down killer swims rested or unrested but the no suit thing…ya wow.

Noah
3 months ago

2:05 unsuited at a dual?!!!