UVA Women Edge Out Cal In Season Opener

by Emma Edmund 48

October 15th, 2021 AAC, College, News, Pac-12

Cal vs Virginia dual meet

  • October 15, 2021
  • Spieker Aquatics Complex, Berkeley, California
  • Short course yard (25 yards)
  • Full Results
  • Team scores:
    • Virginia W defeat Cal W 141-121

In the first-ever dual meet between the two schools, Virginia edged out Cal in the Golden Bears’ first home meet since January 2020.

Though Cal has an impressive depth that allowed them to secure many second- through fifth- places in most events, UVA won 10 out of 14 events. UVA’s impressive output kicks off their NCAA title defense season with a big win over Cal, which finished fourth-place among women’s teams at last year’s national championship meet.

Cal’s performance last season marked its 15th consecutive season with a top-five finish, currently the longest of any program in the country, but it was Virginia that took the number one spot in the CSCAA preseason poll for women’s teams.

This meet was UVA’s official opener, but we’ve already seen their strong newcomers on display during their unscored meet with Georgetown on October 9. Despite not knowing the event they’d swim until they were about to dive in the water at the Georgetown meet, the freshmen won five individual events. At Friday’s meet against Cal, the freshmen again had some remarkable swims, especially from Emma Weyant and Gretchen Walsh.

In general, though, UVA left its mark on the pool — literally, with three pool records. The team began with a pool record in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:34.65, swum by Gretchen Walsh (23.69), Alexis Wenger (26.52), Alex Walsh (23.11), and Kate Douglass (21.33). They defeated the previous record of 1:35.83, set by Cal earlier in 2021. Gretchen Walsh set another pool record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 51.15, defeating Isabel Ivey’s record of 51.52 set earlier this year. And, finally, junior Douglass rounded out the pool record frenzy in the 100 butterfly with a time of 51.51, narrowly lowering Ivey’s old record of 51.54.

Neither team wore technical racing suits for the meet.

In the first individual event of the meet, Weyant, the 2020 Tokyo silver medalist in the 400 IM and U.S. National team member, swam to first place and secured another win for Virginia. Weyant won the 1000 freestyle with a time of 9:52.33. Though Weyant’s swimming prowess is most evident in the 400 IM, she beat the second-place finisher — teammate Maddie Donohoe — by two seconds and the third place finisher, Cal’s Sarah DiMeco, by six seconds. The 1000 was Weyant’s best finish of the night, which might indicate her future this season in distance freestyle events.

But Weyant didn’t match her victory in the 500. Cal junior Ayla Spitz out-touched Weyant by .23 seconds for a winning time of 4:46.83 after a neck-and-neck race between the two swimmers. 

Spitz ended last season with the eighth-fastest 500 time in Cal’s history — 4:38.05 — and finished third at the Pac-12 Championships. She also placed fifth in the 500 freestyle at NCAA Championships. 

The 500, though, is Spitz’s upper freestyle limit, and she usually swims 200-yard events rather than a longer race, like the 1000. Spitz’s later performance in the 200 freestyle at the meet earned her second place behind teammate Ivey, who swam a time of 1:45.27. This was Ivey’s first 200 freestyle swim of the season, though if she had raced the event last weekend at the Chick-Fil-A Invite, she would’ve broken a pool record.

Ivey, Spitz, and Robin Neumann swept the top three spots in the 200 during a display of upperclassmen strength. Ivey’s win in the 200 follows a particularly successful season for the Golden Bear. In 2021, she was named Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year, the 11th Cal student to receive that honor. 

Ivey would fall later in the meet to UVA’s Gretchen Walsh in the 100 freestyle, swimming 49.13 to earn second behind Walsh’s 48.02.

Gretchen and Alex Walsh, the freshman and sophomore sisters, racked up major wins for Virginia. Besides Gretchen’s pool record in the 100 backstroke and her win in the 100 free, Alex won the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:55.07 and the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:53.47.

In the last individual event of the meet, another one of Cal’s upperclassmen, Alicia Wilson, won the 200 IM with a time of 1:59.63. Wilson’s the defending Pac-12 champion in the 200 IM.

Finally, Virginia ended the meet with a win in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:27.82. The members of that relay were Gretchen Walsh (21.88), Alex Walsh (21.91), Lexi Cuomo (22.52), and Douglass (21.51).

On Saturday, the two teams will compete again, but swimming non-traditional events. After that, Cal will take on Pac-12 opponent Utah at the beginning of November, while UVA will return home to swim against Army next week.

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3 months ago

That 1:34 Medley relay had to be suited – wtf. 23.6 50 back and unsuited? A 51.15 100 back PB unsuited? What a beast.

ACC fan
Reply to  wow
3 months ago

We’re they suited?

Swimmer girl
Reply to  ACC fan
3 months ago

Nope all done in training suits

Reply to  wow
3 months ago

Since when was she even a backstroker?

Reply to  Shhhh
3 months ago

She went 51.5 in high school. (And yes, 51.1 unsuited is quite impressive).

3 months ago

Virginia is built to score big in March but Cal looks deep and I was surprised because I thought they haven’t been recruiting as well as Virginia and Stanford.

Reply to  Taa
3 months ago

they are really good at turning “nobodys” into really fast swimmers. some of their freshmen will score big on relays at ncaa’s and were never on the national junior team like the walsh sisters.

Joel Lin
Reply to  swimmer
3 months ago

This Cal women’s squad will be formidable at Pac12s. They are deep & will get a lot of points all the way down the conference meet roster. Very impressive looking team now.

Last edited 3 months ago by Joel Lin
Ledecky will go under 8 minutes in the 800
3 months ago

can we see a UVA Stanford dual meet


Stanford doesn’t want the L that’s why they’re at Cal..

Reply to  Hswimmer
3 months ago

This is such a dumb comment. Let’s respect both teams.

Ledecky will go under 8 minutes in the 800
Reply to  Kylie
3 months ago

So lets just remove the competition out of swim then

I’m all for respecting swimmers as individuals but its ok to lightly trash talk between teams

Last edited 3 months ago by Ledecky will go under 8 minutes in the 800
3 months ago

Gretchen Walsh’s times were incredible!!

3 months ago

Dayum!! Quick dual meet. Walsh sisters are $$$

3 months ago


Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Virtus
3 months ago

I was more impressed with the 14.57 split on the UVA B 200 free relay. Now that’s quick. The 16 point split wasn’t shabby either.

3 months ago

Really looking forward to Gretchen Walsh rebounding after the disappointment at trials. It’s all about that long course 52 flat start.

Ol' Longhorn
3 months ago

She’ll do great. But if the US ever wants to be on top again, they need to start putting 51 flat start long course in the minds of the 18-year-olds.

3 months ago

It looks like some were suited and others were not

Reply to  SwimFan76
3 months ago

Why? Because some swimmers were fast and others not so fast?

I quote from the article: “Neither team wore technical racing suits for the meet.”

Reply to  SwimFan76
3 months ago

I was at the meet. No tech suits.

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
Reply to  Calbearfan
3 months ago

You did a great job in that 200 fly!