SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side.
Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers if Kate Douglass should race the 200 IM or 50 free on Day 2 of the NCAA Championships:
Question: Which event should Kate Douglass swim at NCAAs?
- 200 IM – 81.4%
- 50 free – 18.6%
Kate Douglass‘ unmatched versatility was on full display last week at the ACC Championships, as the University of Virginia senior roared to victory in the 100 free, 100 fly and 200 IM with some of the fastest swims in history.
Her performance of 48.84 in the 100 fly was a new NCAA, U.S. Open and American Record, while her 1:50.15 effort in the 200 IM ranks #2 all-time and her 45.86 in the 100 free sits #3.
Douglass’ wide-ranging ability has led to her NCAA schedule being a hotly-debated topic over the last few seasons.
Her lineup is more than likely locked in with the 100 fly on Friday and the 200 breast on Saturday, but her individual event on Thursday remains up in the air.
In her freshman season, Douglass was the top seed entering NCAAs in the 200 IM, but the COVID pandemic caused the meet to be canceled about one week out. Since then, she’s yet to race the event at the championship despite winning an Olympic bronze medal in the summer of 2021.
Douglass has instead opted for the 50 free on Day 2 of the meet (Day 1 of individual events), which gives way to her UVA teammate Alex Walsh in the 200 IM. The two swimmers have both won back-to-back titles in the events, maximizing the Cavaliers’ point totals, but many are clamoring to see a Douglass vs. Walsh showdown this year.
Douglass has confirmed this will be her last collegiate meet, and we’ve yet to really see the two superstars go head-to-head at the peak of their powers in the 200 IM in short course yards. They did so recently in short course meters, with Douglass winning the SC world title in December in a near-world record time of 2:02.12, while Walsh won silver in 2:03.37.
Especially with another UVA star, Gretchen Walsh, asserting herself as the favorite to win the 50 free at NCAAs (if Douglass isn’t in the race, if she is it’s pretty 50/50), it wouldn’t make much of a difference points-wise for UVA if Douglass swam the 50 free or 200 IM.
It will likely all be up to her. But we know what the people want to see.
When asked which event she should race, more than 81 percent voted for the 200 IM, as the Walsh/Douglass showdown would be must-see TV. It would be the reigning long course world champion versus the reigning short course world champion, with the 1:50 barrier at risk of getting toppled by both.
The 50 free would be great too, with G. Walsh and Maggie MacNeil having broken 21 seconds this season (Douglass won 2022 NCAAs in 20.84, only to have Walsh go a record 20.83 at ACCs one week ago), but the 200 IM is the one everyone wants to see.
There’s also the fact that, if she did pick the 200 IM, Douglass could also lead off UVA’s 200 free relay to get an official 50 free time in her last collegiate competition.
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks: Will the Sun Devils make history next week at Men’s Pac-12s?
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The other 18.6% also prefer mild salsa.
The backstroke leg has usually been the difference between Walsh and Douglass. Walsh has had a stronger backstroke.
Douglass has improved her backstroke, so it’s a tossup now.
I think Douglass would win in SCY and Walsh in LCM
I just like that, even with someone as versatile as Douglass, it holds true that if you’re a breaststroker, backstroke will be your weakest stroke and vice versa.
Except if you’re Kaylee McKeown.
This is an excellent point
Or Alex Walsh.
Except Kaylee McKeown is not a breaststroker.
2022 Short Course World Championships (Melbourne, Australia)
W 200 IM
Douglass – 35.36
Walsh – 35.79
McKeown – 36.22
Where the race was won.
Kaylee McKeown just swam a 1.06.86 breaststroke at the Victorian LC Championships. Not a bad time for someone who is not a breaststroker!!
The proof is in the pudding at an official international competition on home soil, no less (Melbourne, Australia).
W 200 IM
Douglass – 35.36
Walsh – 35.79
McKeown – 36.22
No need to post the freestyle leg to add insult to injury.
Does anyone else just like audibly “ughhh” to themselves when relay guy inserts himself into the conversation to say something stupid?
Even though it was SCM a 36.2 is fast for breast in the IM. Let’s say she split 3 x 36.2 and opened with a 33 in the 2BR that would be a 2:20.6. Which would absolutely qualify her as a breaststroker.
If you rewatch that race McKeown was actually faster on top of the water than Walsh but her pullouts let her down badly. In LCM where pullouts are less important McKeown (1:06.86) has a faster 100 PB than Walsh (1:07.59).
Looking at strokes in isolation is always problematic in the IM. Hannah Miley always blew away people on the breaststroke leg that might have been faster in the individual breast races.
The 100 breast is not a main event for either A. Walsh or McKeown. So direct comparisons are meaningless. I don’t think either has done enough peak form Breast swims to gauge any useful comparison. During the LC world championships last year A. Walsh outsplit McKeown by a half second in the 200IM. That’s a decent amount in a 200IM. You could say yeah but Kaylee just went 1:06.8 so she’s officially better than A. Walsh now. How do we know that Kaylee could not have gone a 1:06… Read more »
Thing is McKeown (36.89) has split basically as fast as Walsh in the breast leg back at the end of 2020 at the same meet she set her previous breast PB (1:07.85) which she has now dropped by a second. It’s probably not wise to read much into Kaylee’s swims at Worlds last year given she was 1.3 seconds off her 100 back WR and this year already back in the 57 zone.
What’s your point? This whole discussion was started by someone saying “if you’re a backstroker then breast will be your worst stroke” and Kaylee was brought up as a counterpoint. You and crazy relay guy are the only ones who are trying to insult swimmers with splits from one race.
You can only judge swimmers by what they swim. And there is a significant difference in the PBs there.
She’s the only woman in history to have a 57 100 back and 1:06 100 breast. She’s 79th all time in the 100 breast despite not swimming it competitively.
If you’re splitting 36.2 as a female in the IM you are most definitely a breaststroker
Not true because Walsh is more versatile and neither backstroke nor breaststroke is her weakest stroke
At the same time she’s not a contender for an individual medal in any stroke in LCM unlike McKeown and Douglass.
Kate Douglass has posted personal best times in the 100 BK (02/04/23), 100 BR (11/18/22), 100 FL (02/16/23), 100 FR (02/18/23) during the 2022-2023 NCAA Season. Kate Douglass is still on the ascension.
Meanwhile, Alex Walsh was absolutely smoked in the freestyle leg of the 200 IM in Melbourne, Australia.
Why do you always have to insult swimmers you don’t like? Like, I get supporting swimmers you like. But you always have to be as nasty as possible towards others. I just don’t get it.
Probably the worst regular commenter here. Just a buzzkill every time.
And even right after this, commented “no kidding!”
Like sweet man, thanks for adding to the conversation.
Kate and Alex are both kicking butt