A day after UVA broke the NCAA and US Open record in the 200 free relay, the team of Gretchen Walsh, Alexis Wegner, Lexi Cuomo, and Kate Douglass swam the fastest women’s 200 medley relay of all time with a 1:31.81, over a second faster than the previous US Open record of 1:32.93 that was set by UVA last year at ACCs. Their time from this meet was a school, meet, conference, NCAA, American, and US Open record.
Another record was set in the same race when Gretchen Walsh swam a 22.82 backstroke leadoff split to become the first woman under 23 seconds in the 50 back. She broke her own American record of 23.04 set just a few weeks ago, as well Maggie MacNeil’s NCAA and US Open record of 23.02. Walsh was the X factor in this relay, throwing down a split that was almost a second faster than Caroline Gmelich’s 23.70 from their old record.
UVA is now the only school to have gone under 1:33 and 1:32 in this event, with the fastest non-UVA relay belonging to Stanford, when they swam a time of 1:33.10 at NCAAs in 2018.
Virginia has been 1.3 seconds better than any other school in this relay – a huge margin in a 200. They broke the pool record set by Stanford at the 2016 NCAA Championships by three seconds. NC State swam the 5th-best 200 medley relay ever, and still lost by two seconds.
|Virginia- 2022 ACCs||Virginia- 2021 ACCs||Stanford- 2018 NCAAs|
|New Record||Former US Open/NCAA record||Fastest non-Virginia relay|
|Backstroke||Gretchen Walsh– 22.82||Caroline Gmelich- 23.70||Ally Howe- 23.54|
|Breaststroke||Alexis Wegner- 25.77||Alexis Wegner- 26.03||Kim Williams- 26.50|
|Butterfly||Alexa Cuomo- 22.68||Alexa Cuomo- 22.58||Janet Hu- 22.62|
|Freestyle||Kate Douglass– 20.54||Kate Douglass– 20.62||Simone Manuel- 20.45|
Alexis Wegner continued UVA’s lead in the relay when she swam a 25.77 breaststroke split, which makes her the fourth-fastest performer of all time in a 50 breast relay leg, only behind Hanna Bach’s 25.51, Jorie Caneta’s 25.54, and Lily King’s 25.36. Lexi Cuomo swam a 22.68 fly split, and Kate Douglass brought things home in a 20.54 freestyle leg.
Douglass’s split was the fifth-fastest 50 free split of all time and makes her the third-fastest performer, behind Anna Hopkin (20.27), Simone Manuel (20.45), and Abbey Weitzeil (20.45).
The rest of the schools did not disappoint either. NC State’s Katharine Berkhoff (23.10), Sophie Hansson (26.13), Abby Arens (23.00), and Kylee Alons (21.02) finished in second with a time of 1:33.25, the fifth-fastest performance ever. Most notably, Berkhoff’s backstroke split makes her the third-fastest woman in the 50 back behind Walsh and MacNeil.
Florida State’s Tania Quaglieri (24.38), Nina Kucheran (26.87), Jenny Halden (22.43), and Rebecca Moynihan (21.72) took third in a time of 1:35.40 that was an improvement from the 1:36.97 that the school swam at last year’s meet to earn fourth.
You can watch the relay here, courtesy of UVA Swimming’s YouTube channel.