Virginia Women Break NCAA Record in 200 Medley Relay to Open ACC Championships

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 44

February 17th, 2021 ACC, College, News


  • 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)

The University of Virginia women’s swimming & diving team reaffirmed its national championship front-runner status on Wednesday, kicking off the ACC Championship meet with the new fastest-ever time in the women’s 200 medley relay.

The group of Caroline GmelichAlexis WengerAlexa Cuomo, and Kate Douglass combined for a 1:32.93 in the relay. That breaks the old NCAA, American, and U.S. Open Records of 1:33.11 that was set in 2018 by Stanford.

Virginia 2021 Stanford 2018
New NCAA Record
Old NCAA Record
Back Caroline Gmelich – 23.70
Ally Howe – 23.54
Breast Alexis Wenger – 26.03
Kim Williams – 26.50
Fly Alexa Cuomo – 22.58
Janet Hu – 22.62
Free Kate Douglass – 20.62
Simone Manuel – 20.45
1:32.93 1:33.11

The former University of Virginia, ACC Conference, and ACC Championship Records were a 1:34.27 set at last year’s meet by nearly the same relay. Gmelich (23.98) and Wenger (26.68) led off that relay as well, but it was Douglass (22.33) on the fly leg and the now-graduated Morgan Hill (21.28) on the anchor leg.

It was Wenger’s 26.0 breaststroke leg, though, which was faster than anybody aside from Lilly King swam at the last NCAA Championship meet in 2019, that was the real difference-maker for the Cavaliers.

The emergence of Cuomo this season as one of the top sprint butterfliers in the country allowed Douglass to move to the freestyle leg, where she held on for the NCAA Record on the anchor leg on Wednesday.

There are two things that make this record-setting performance even scarier for everyone nationally not named Virginia:

  1. Gmelich, a senior, is the only swimmer from this relay graduating. Wenger is a junior, Cuomo a sophomore, and Douglass a sophomore
  2. The team didn’t have to use Alex Walsh, a member of the U.S. National Team and already the 3rd-fastest 100 breaststroker and 100 backstroker in program history to break an NCAA Record.

This puts the 400 medley relay record, which Stanford set in 2018 as well in 3:25.09, well within Virginia’s sights. Virginia has the weapons on the front-half to match Stanford’s splits (50.34/58.59) from that record-setting relay, and can probably come close to the 50.36 split as well. Whether they have a swimmer who can, or leave themselves enough room to give back time, on Simone Manuel‘s electric 45.80 anchor split from the previous record-setting time will be the deciding factor there.


Not to be overlooked, NC State’s runner-up relay touched in a time of 1:33.52, which is the 3rd-fastest performance in history. The group of Katharine Berkoff (23.37), Sophie Hansson (26.31), Sirena Rowe (23.02), and Kylee Alons (20.82) combined for a time that would have been under the old ACC Record.

Fastest Women’s 200 Yard Medley Relays in History:

  1. Virginia, 2021 ACC Champs – 1:32.93
  2. Stanford, 2018 NCAA Champs – 1:33.11
  3. NC State, 2021 ACC Champs – 1:33.52
  4. Cal, 2018 NCAA Champs – 1:33.85
  5. Indiana, 2018 NCAA Champs – 1:33.89

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 months ago

When is the last time we saw an NCAA and American record this is so so exciting

Reply to  Swimmerj
2 months ago

The last time would have been Minnesota Invite 2019 where Weitzel went 20.9 50 fr and MacNeil tied the 100 fly

Reply to  H2ooooo
2 months ago

Kieran Smith and Bobby Finke I think? SEC’s 2020

Reply to  Swimmerj
2 months ago

This is going to sound cheesy, but no joke – I got a little choked up watching this race today. Not because of the record swim — just watching this race happen. I didn’t expect that – it just came over me. It’s been a really LONG year. Seeing our sport going again at the very highest level — just awesome stuff.

Joel Lin
Reply to  swimgeek
2 months ago

It is so inspiring to see these college athletes doing such crazy great stuff – UVa & NCS swam the 1st & 3rd fastest time in the history of the event – in a season of such duress & anguish for all of us in the world. Fantastic stuff. Terrific. Bravo.

Reply to  Swimmerj
2 months ago

Kieran smith at sec’s last year in the 500

Reply to  Swimmerj
2 months ago

NC State men 400 free relay of Held, Molacek, Ress, Stewart.

Grace Hall
Reply to  Swimmerj
2 months ago

Me too!! It was amazing and so exiting

2 months ago

It’s on! Congrats to the team. We’re lucky just to have an NCAA season, and seeing 1:32 made me so excited!
They just posted a video too.

Reply to  swimfan210_
2 months ago

Wenger’s kick looks a lil sus

Reply to  toastedcoconut
2 months ago

Yep. But her pullouts are flat out amazing

Reply to  Swimfan
2 months ago

Idk bout y’all but I saw 2 dolphin kicks on the turn

DQ Cheaters
Reply to  toastedcoconut
2 months ago

Wenger was DQ’d at 2015 Speedo Winter Jr Champs (East) for dolphin kick at end of stroke kick. Her times slowed down after that DQ with her trying to eliminate that dolphin kick, and well we can see it came back for collegiate swimming. Underwater video analysis is a must to rid the pool of cheaters (since the officials have to give benefit of doubt – there’s no doubt underwater).

Reply to  swimfan210_
2 months ago

UVA backstroker cut it close on that 2nd underwater 😬

Joel Lin
Reply to  USA
2 months ago

Reeeaaallly close, but just under. It was the perfect breakout.

Reply to  USA
2 months ago

Bad angle here. ACCN shows it better that she just bareeeeeely made it.

Reply to  USA
2 months ago

Super close. Even pausing the video I really can’t tell, which I guess means they were right not to call it.

2 months ago

Went past 15 on the backstroke I could tell from my tiny computer screen

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »