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 Gmelich, Alexis Wenger, Alexa 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
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:
- Gmelich, a senior, is the only swimmer from this relay graduating. Wenger is a junior, Cuomo a sophomore, and Douglass a sophomore
- 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:
- Virginia, 2021 ACC Champs – 1:32.93
- Stanford, 2018 NCAA Champs – 1:33.11
- NC State, 2021 ACC Champs – 1:33.52
- Cal, 2018 NCAA Champs – 1:33.85
- Indiana, 2018 NCAA Champs – 1:33.89