UVA Freshman Alex Walsh Upsets Teammate Douglass with 6th-Fastest 200 IM Ever

2021 ACC WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • When: Wednesday, February 17th – Saturday, February 20th | Prelims: 11:00 am | Finals: 7:00 pm (EST) (Except Wednesday’s timed finals, which begin at 5:15 EST)
  • Where: Greensboro Aquatic Center, Greensboro, NC
  • Defending Champion: University of Virginia (x1) (results)
  • Format: 25 Yards/Short Course Yards (SCY)
  • Championship Central: Here
  • Championship Manual
  • Live Results
  • Psych Sheets (uncut)

All eyes were on the center of the pool tonight for the A-final of the 200 IM at the 2021 ACC Swimming Championships, but in a fairly unexpected turn of events, it was the swimmer in lane 5, not lane 4, who got her hand to the wall first.

UVA sophomore Kate Douglass had looked like she was primed to go after the U.S. Open Record of 1:50.67, set by Ella Eastin in 2018, this week. As a freshman at last year’s ACCs, she hit 1:51.36, the fastest time ever by a freshman, then she came back this fall to go 1:50.92, just a quarter of a second away Eastin and the 3rd-fastest performance ever.

Swimming in lane 4 tonight, Douglass went out fast, and had over a one second lead at the halfway point. But teammate Alex Walsh, swimming right next to her, split 31.98 on the breaststroke leg to Douglass’s 33.16, then brought it home in 26.59, beating Douglass 1:51.53 to 1:51.97. Note: as one of our commenters

SWIMMER FLY SPLIT BACK SPLIT BREAST SPLIT FREE SPLIT FINAL TIME
Alex Walsh (2021) 24.48 28.48 31.98 26.59 1:51.53
Kate Douglass (2021) 23.59 28.29 33.16 26.93 1:51.97

Walsh knocked over two seconds off of her lifetime best tonight, with her previous best time of 1:53.56 coming over two years ago at the 2018 Winter Juniors. Tonight’s swim was the 6th-fastest performance ever, and was the 2nd-fastest ever by a freshman, behind only Douglass’ swim from last year’s ACCs. Including Ella Nelson‘s 1:54.72 from December, the Cavaliers now have three of the four fastest freshmen in this event ever.

TOP 10 ALL-TIME PERFORMANCES: WOMEN’S 200 IM

  1. Ella Eastin, 1:50.67, 2018
  2. Beata Nelson, 1:50.79, 2019
  3. Kate Douglass, 1:50.92, 2020
  4. Kathleen Baker, 1:51.25, 2018
  5. Kate Douglass, 1:51.36, 2020
  6. Alex Walsh, 1:51.54, 2021
  7. Meghan Small, 1:51.62, 2019
  8. Ella Eastin, 1:51.65, 2016
  9. Sydney Pickrem, 1:51.66, 2019
  10. Beata Nelson, 1:51.66, 2020

It remains to be seen whether or not tonight’s outcome has any effect on the Cavaliers’ event selection for next month’s NCAA Championships. Douglass has the fastest time in the nation this season in both the 200 IM and the 50 free. UVA already had more depth in the 200 IM than in the 50 free, and with Walsh now faster than anyone else, besides Douglass, in the NCAA this season by over a second, this may push the needle in terms of UVA opting to swim Douglass in the 50 free at NCAAs.

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Snarky
5 months ago

1:49?

PFA
5 months ago

Makes me believe now that these two could possibly go 1-2 at NC’s and both could possibly get under the AR there.

Ghost
5 months ago

Check out their splits. Alex outsplit Kate in breast by over a second after Kate goes 2:03 breast in a dual meet!?!

Hswimmer
Reply to  Ghost
5 months ago

I think Kate went too fast in prelims. Alex saved some more for the finals and paced it better.

PVSFree
Reply to  Hswimmer
5 months ago

Honestly I think this whole “went too fast in prelims” narrative is generally a bit overrated. These swimmers do insane things in practice day in and day out, they can handle 2 200 IM’s 8 hours apart. Kate may not be fully rested because she’s got her cuts already and doesn’t need to come down all the way to get the points UVA needs

swim6847
5 months ago

I think the only competition for Douglass in the 50 free at this point is MacNeil so I’d say for NCAAs, Douglass should swim the 50. Walsh has the 200 IM covered

Coach
Reply to  swim6847
5 months ago

It’s an interesting choice for Douglass and her coaches. Anything can happen in the 50. Regardless of what they choose, it’s a great problem to have.

Whoa
Reply to  Coach
5 months ago

They both outswam Aloms tonight

Klorn8d
5 months ago

I see Walsh going very fast long course, her stroke is just so efficient and she has no weak stroke. Her middle 109 is sick. Would be cool to see her and her sister on the Olympic team

Coach
Reply to  Klorn8d
5 months ago

Walsh is already very fast in LCM. She went 2:09.0 in high school.

N P
Reply to  Coach
5 months ago

Exactly. First 18&U American to break 2:10 – Katie Hoff and Liz Pelton were both 2:10 lows.

Rachel Wander
5 months ago

Honestly with this big time drop I think she has moved up to be a possible favorite for one of those 200 IM spots this summer. A lot of competition but I could easily see her go 2:08 probably 2:08 low

Coach
Reply to  Rachel Wander
5 months ago

She went 2:09.0 in high school.

Penguin
Reply to  Rachel Wander
5 months ago

Sco ‘nas

Swimmerj
5 months ago

26.5 after a 31.9 breast👀

Mnswim
5 months ago

Great swims by both ladies. Alex has shown that she has had this capability for awhile.
Glad these two are training partners.
Go UVA!