NCAA Record Holder Alex Walsh Announces Return To Virginia For COVID-19 Fifth Year

Alex Walsh has announced on Instagram that she will return to Virginia to use her COVID-19 fifth year.

Walsh helped the Virginia women to their 4th straight NCAA team title this past season. She went 3 for 3 in individual NCAA titles as she won the 200 IM, 400 IM, and 200 breast. She swam personal best times in all three events swimming a 2:02.07 in the 200 breast, a 1:49.20 in the 200 IM, and a 3:55.97 in the 400 IM.

Walsh also swam on four relays for the Cavaliers, swimming on the 200, 400, and 800 free relays as well as on the 400 medley relay. The 200 and 400 freestyle relays and the 400 medley relay won the 2024 NCAA title. The team’s 800 free relay finished 4th.

A month prior, Walsh helped the team to another ACC title. Despite not swimming the event at NCAAs, Walsh swam an NCAA record in the 200 fly at ACCs as she swam a 1:49.16. That also was the first time swimming the event since she was 2nd in the event at 2023 NCAAs.

Walsh has won a total of eight individual NCAA titles over the course of her career so far with the Cavaliers. As a junior, she won the 400 IM and was 2nd in the 200 fly and 3rd in the 200 IM. As a sophomore, she swept her individual events winning the 200 IM, 400 IM, and 200 fly. In her freshman season, she won the 200 IM and was 5th in both the 200 free and 200 breast.

The return of Walsh is key for the team as they look to make a run for five straight titles. Walsh was one of five seniors on the NCAA roster for the team this past season that also included fifth-year Ella Nelson. The five seniors plus Nelson scored a total of 176 individual points as the team scored a total of 527.5 points to finish ahead of Texas who had 441 points.

In addition to the seniors’ individual contributions were their relay contributions. The return of Walsh helps solidify that at least half of their relay legs return for next fall as Jasmine Nocentini and Maxine Parker have not yet announced their decisions. The team will also welcome the arrivals of names such as Claire Curzan, Leah Hayes, and Anna Moesch.

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RMS
1 month ago

Can someone please explain why she gets a Covid-19 5th year?

James Chapman
Reply to  RMS
1 month ago

Any athlete who was competing during the 2020 season was granted an additional season of eligibility because that season never concluded.

Yikes
Reply to  James Chapman
1 month ago

It’s for athletes competing in the 20-21 season. The ncaa gave them a 5th year so they wouldn’t cancel their seasons/all take red shirts like ASU. When they made that decisions in fall 2020 there was a lot unknown about how the season would unfold.

Beginner Swimmer at 25
1 month ago

Does anyone know Alex Walsh’s major?

Ranger Coach
Reply to  Beginner Swimmer at 25
1 month ago

Her bio page on UVA’s athletic website says that it is computer science. Although, Kate Douglass was listed as computer science, but ended up as stats, so the SID doesn’t always update that part of the page, especially on a page like Alex’s where there is so much information that needs updating multiple times a year.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Beginner Swimmer at 25
1 month ago

Winning NCAA titles:

Summa cum laude

moveOn
1 month ago

What will she be, like 25, 26 when she finishes college swimming?

Admin
Reply to  moveOn
1 month ago

23 lol.

tea rex
1 month ago

Does anyone know if either Walsh sister has sponsorships/endorsements solo? I’ve only seen them promote things together, so it kind of makes sense to stick together.

richteller
1 month ago

This announcement is fantastic! Alex is very happy at UVA and helped recruit some of the incomings, and it would be cool to finish with her sister.

There is a ton of talent returning as well as incoming, so the 5th championship is pretty well locked. The thing is, but for Covid this team would be going for 6! We’ll never know because championships are won in the water not on paper, but on paper that team was a big favorite to win in 2020.

For no particular reason, I can see Gretchen on the 800 free relay as there is one record out there that everybody thinks is unassailable. UVA gave it a go at this year’s ACCs… Read more »

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  richteller
1 month ago

Gretchen Walsh is needed on the butterfly leg of the women’s 4 x 50 yard medley relay:

Curzan, Claire – BK
Nocentini, Jasmine – BR
Walsh, Gretchen – FL
To be determined – FR

Maxine Parker has yet to declare her intentions for the 2024-2025 NCAA Season.

Furthermore, Gretchen Walsh is needed on the butterfly leg of the women’s 4 x 50 yard medley relay to offset the return of Torri Huske with Stanford.

As for the women’s 4 x 200 yard freestyle relay, three potential replacements for the departing Ella Nelson:

Women’s 200 yard freestyle
Personal Best Times
Moesch, Anna – 1:43.35
Hayes, Leah – 1:44.13
Gormsen, Cavan – 1:44.32

Gretchen Walsh… Read more »

HOO love
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Carly novelline had a great split on the fly pf 200 medley relay

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  HOO love
1 month ago

Is it repeatable, though?

Gretchen Walsh is obviously an option on the freestyle leg of the women’s 4 x 50 yard medley relay especially if Maxine Parker does not return.

Yikes
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

The formatting of your posts renders them unreadable. I can’t even make myself do it.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Yikes
1 month ago

I’m not here for you.

Yikes
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Based on how many downvotes you regularly get, you’re not here for most of us.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Yikes
1 month ago

I’m the fly in the ointment, the monkey in the wrench, the pain in the arse.

Yikes
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

The guy who can’t have adult conversations. We all know one

richteller
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

G Walsh did swim it at ACCs. 1:40:53 flat start.

I appreciate your point about the 200IM relay, and don’t disagree, Tough call, but even a superstar like Torri can’t by herself deal with the rest of Virginia’s lineup.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  richteller
1 month ago

If I remember correctly, if an athlete swims three individual events at the NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships, the aforementioned athlete is limited to swim four relays. I would rather save Gretchen Walsh for the 4 x 50 yard relays and 4 x 100 yard relays as was the case in 2024.

richteller
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
26 days ago

That is logical and nobody can argue that really. But (there had to be a “but”), Virginia and Desorbo do treat the NCAAs as a team event and use that as part of the culture in what is largely an individual sport. From what I understand, the swimmers have a lot of input on what to swim as well. Net net, I wouldn’t be surprised that there are calculations about winning all 5 relays vs 4, So if the 200IM looks unassailable from other teams, there might be consideration to having G Walsh nuclear bomb a 200 yd leg.

You’re right about the limits on relays, 4.

Eddie
1 month ago

ok next year is gonna be crazy at the NCAAs – Torri Huske returning, Regan Smith potentially racing again, Claire Curzan, and now ALSO Alex Walsh? Can’t wait

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

I’m hoping the depth of the University of Virginia women’s squad pulls through during the 2023-2024 NCAA season:

Senior(s)
Tiltmann, Reilly – 100 BK, 200 BK

Junior(s)
Novelline, Carly – 100 BK, 100 FL
Skirboll, Zoe – 100 BR, 200 BR
Weber, Emma – 100 BR, 200 BR

That would definitely take the pressure off the incoming freshman class.

Ashe
1 month ago

This really mixes up their medley relays. Claire on back, AW fly, Jasmine breast, and GW free maybe? AW and GW could switch too. So many options so many records going to be broken!!

Samuel Huntington
Reply to  Ashe
1 month ago

In theory, with everything perfect, that relay could be 48, 55, 48, 44.

Fast and Furious
Reply to  Ashe
1 month ago

I mean as long as you keep Nocentini out of back/fly and Curzan and GW out of breast, any combo of those four works

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Fast and Furious
1 month ago

Based upon individual potential, the lineup for the women’s 4 x 100 yard medley relay is denoted below:

Curzan, Claire – BK
Nocentini, Jasmine – BR
Walsh, Gretchen – FL
Parker, Maxine – FR

However, since Alex Walsh is clutch on the women’s relays, the updated lineup is denoted below:

Curzan, Claire – BK
Nocentini, Jasmine – BR
Walsh, Alex – FL
Walsh, Gretchen – FR

As a footnote, Alex Walsh swam the butterfly leg in the women’s 4 x 100 yard medley relay at the 2024 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships and out split the field including Emma Stricklen.

Ashe
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Moesch over Parker probably

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Ashe
1 month ago

Anna Moesch would have finished fifth in the women’s 100 yard freestyle at the 2024 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships based on her performance at the 2024 YMCA National Championships.

Swimfan27
Reply to  Ashe
1 month ago

I’d say Gretchen gets put on free because she’s 2 seconds faster than anyone else, while probably only about 1.5 seconds faster than Claire on back and about 2 faster than Alex on fly.

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 and 2023 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Economics and a minor in Government & Law at …

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