UVA Women Take Up 3/6 Of The Likely Women’s 4×100 Free Relay Worlds Qualifiers


Day 1 Finals Heat Sheet

“Bathtub pool swimmers”? Not anymore, because three out of the six potential World Championship qualifiers in the women’s 4×100 free relay are from the University of Virginia.

In the ‘A’ final of the women’s 100 free at the 2023 Phillips 66 National Championships, former Virginia swimmer Kate Douglass (52.57) and current Virginia swimmers Gretchen Walsh (53.11) and Maxine Parker (53.51) finished first, third and sixth respectively. Douglass and Walsh have locked up World Championship spots, while Parker will likely qualify as well.

Douglass’s time makes her the second-fastest American woman of all time, only behind Simone Manuel‘s 52.04 American record. In just one day, she has dropped nearly a second in a half from her best time of 53.99 from April 2022.

All-Time Top U.S. Performers, Women’s 100 Meter Freestyle:

  1. Simone Manuel — 52.04 (2019)
  2. Kate Douglass — 52.57 (2023)
  3. Mallory Comerford — 52.59 (2017)
  4. Torri Huske (2022)/Abbey Weitzeil (2023) — 52.92

Now, Douglass is ranked four overall in the world for 2023, and the ninth-fastest performer of all-time in the women’s 100 free.

All-Time Top Performers, Women’s 100 Meter Freestyle:

  1. Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden — 51.71 (2017)
  2. Emma McKeon, Australia — 51.96 (2021)
  3. Cate Campbell, Australia — 52.03 (2018)
  4. Simone Manuel, United States — 52.04 (2019)
  5. Britta Steffen, Germany — 52.07 (2009)
  6. Bronte Campbell, Australia (2018)/Siobhan Haughey, Hong Kong (2021) — 52.27
  7. None
  8. Mollie O’Callaghan, Australia — 52.48 (2023)
  9. Kate Douglass, United Stated — 52.57 (2023)

2022-2023 LCM Women 100 Free

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It wasn’t just Douglass that set a huge milestone though, as her training partner Walsh qualified for her first-ever senior international team.

Walsh first broke out onto the international scene as a 16-year-old when she swam a time of 53.74 in 2019 but failed to get close to that time at the 2021 U.S. Olympic trials or the 2022 U.S. World Championship team—missing the ‘A’ final by a significant margin at both meets. However, on Tuesday night, she beat her 2019 best time first by swimming 53.64 in prelims, and then going 53.11 in finals.

Last but not least, Parker also saw a big breakthrough. Coming into 2023, her best time in the 100 free was 54.97 which was set 2022 U.S. Nationals. She then improved that time to a 54.21 at the Atlanta Classic this May, and then clocked a 53.51 personal best and a likely World Championship berth a month later.

Comparative Splits:

Kate Douglass, 2023 U.S. Trials Kate Douglass, 2022 U.S. Trials
50m 25.35 26.04
100m 27.22 27.95
Total 52.57 53.99
Gretchen Walsh, 2023 U.S. Trials Gretchen Walsh, 2019 World Juniors
50m 25.19 25.57
100m 27.75 28.17
Total 53.14 53.74
Maxine Parker, 2023 U.S. Trials Maxine Parker, 2023 Atlanta Classic
50m 25.81 26.14
100m 27.70 28.07
Total 53.51 54.21

Now, the Virginia women are no longer dominating American sprint freestyle in yards, but also in the long course pool.

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3 months ago

that last 10 meters of Kate’s swim was unbelievable. She pulled ahead of the rest by half body length from the flags to the wall.

3 months ago

How much is Desorbo paying swimswam for this coverage?

Reply to  SwimObs
3 months ago

Not enough.

3 months ago

I wonder if now Kate will drop 200 IM from her schedule considering her relay demands just got a lot higher. H

Reply to  Yikes
3 months ago

Depends on if she makes the 100 fly, last person to do the 200 IM, 100fly, and 4×100 at worlds was alicia Coutts and she got 2nd on all 3

You would want Douglass as fresh as she can be if you want to beat the Aussie in the 4×100

Awsi Dooger
3 months ago

Douglass obviously had it so I spent the final 10 meters rooting for Gretchen. It was agonizingly tight but Weitzeil always looked a few centimeters ahead. I was hoping Gretchen’s long reach would flip the outcome. But she’s never as emphatic as ideal with the final punch to the wall. Long and loping. Last year .01 away and this time .03.

3 months ago

Simplify your fractions, SwimSwam! 🙂

3 months ago

Me starting to think Abbey might be maxed out. Didn’t look too happy afterwards.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Breezeway
3 months ago

Weitzeil looked stunned. But that’s what star talent like Douglass is supposed to do, destroy all the stepping stone races and conventional wisdom into battered irrelevance.

Speaking of battered, I envision all the Australian commenters with mini bathtubs attached to their heads, banging them against the wall every time Kate Douglass flicks aside their pathetic appraisals.

Reply to  Awsi Dooger
3 months ago

The American you’re replying to actually called Douglass a bathtub swimmer not so long ago but I guess Australians are living rent free in your empty skull.

Reply to  Troyy
3 months ago

Bout to say pretty sure Breezeway was talking some smack about Douglass’s LCM skills a few months ago.

3 months ago

Scary US depth building for Paris

3 months ago

The race for the W 50 FR should be thrilling:


About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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