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

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)

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.

RACE VIDEO

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

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Swimmerj
5 months ago

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

H2ooooo
Reply to  Swimmerj
5 months ago

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

Bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  H2ooooo
5 months ago

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

swimgeek
Reply to  Swimmerj
5 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
5 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.

Bruh
Reply to  Swimmerj
5 months ago

Kieran smith at sec’s last year in the 500

Questionable
Reply to  Swimmerj
5 months ago

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

Grace Hall
Reply to  Swimmerj
5 months ago

Me too!! It was amazing and so exiting

swimfan210_
5 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WzQGQpBdGg

toastedcoconut
Reply to  swimfan210_
5 months ago

Wenger’s kick looks a lil sus

Swimfan
Reply to  toastedcoconut
5 months ago

Yep. But her pullouts are flat out amazing

USA
Reply to  Swimfan
5 months ago

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

DQ Cheaters
Reply to  toastedcoconut
5 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).

USA
Reply to  swimfan210_
5 months ago

UVA backstroker cut it close on that 2nd underwater 😬

Joel Lin
Reply to  USA
5 months ago

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

Huh
Reply to  USA
5 months ago

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

Patrick
Reply to  USA
5 months ago

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

Wolfpackluver
5 months ago

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

VFL
5 months ago

Without either Walsh sister 😳

swimgeek
Reply to  VFL
5 months ago

Seriously. Wait til next year. And Gmelich is the only senior on this relay. talk about a stacked team

Swimfan
Reply to  VFL
5 months ago

They didn’t use Walsh cuz these women are faster in 50s.

Swimmerj
Reply to  Swimfan
5 months ago

Walsh has been 23.6 in backstroke and just went a huge best time in 800FR

Snarky
Reply to  Swimmerj
5 months ago

23.64 to 23.70. Pretty much even.

Hswimmer
Reply to  VFL
5 months ago

Gretchen 19.9 next year

PFA
Reply to  Hswimmer
5 months ago

Tbh I think Claire has an even bigger shot at that not to say Gretchen couldn’t do it but I just feel Curzan could do that first.

Klorn8d
5 months ago

No state has gotta be up there in the top 5 or so fastest all time with that one

Klorn8d
Reply to  Klorn8d
5 months ago

Now that I think more about it, NC state could knock off Virginia in the 400 medley. On the front end berkoff and hansson are both probably a bit better in the 100 than the 50. Gmelich and wenger are both probably a bit better in a 50, though I expect Alex Walsh to sub in for one of them, probably backstroke (what other swimmer is in the discussion for both back and breast on a medley relay?). But even with that I think NC state is better on the front end. The back end is a question of how fast Douglass goes and what stroke Douglass and alons swim, as well as who does the other leg and how… Read more »

BooPack
Reply to  Klorn8d
5 months ago

Nice paragraph, HOOS ON TOP

Klorn8d
Reply to  BooPack
5 months ago

I’m no NC state fan haha, don’t have ties to either fan so my thoughts are probably pretty objective

Snarky
Reply to  Klorn8d
5 months ago

Arens fly leg. Alons anchor. 51 low/46 plus

Swimgeek
Reply to  Klorn8d
5 months ago

Wenger is on fire. She still lose nothing in a 100 breast leg. And with Cuomo swimming that well – they’ll keep her on fly (she was 51-mid flat start last year) and Douglass will give a 45 anchor. Good shot at another Am record

PFA
5 months ago

Never realized that a women’s medley relay had never been under 1:33 before today. Congrats to the quartet on being the first!

Huh
5 months ago

UVA’s team video is better than the ACCN’s. Sad.

BooPack
5 months ago

NCSU looking like chump change compared to the UVa ladies

Whodoyouthinkyouare
Reply to  BooPack
5 months ago

I’m sorry, what’s the fastest you’ve ever swam a 200 medley relay? I would take top 3 in history any day. Sit down.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. 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, …

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