2023 CAVALIER INVITE
- February 3-5, 2023
- UVA Aquatic Center – Charlottesville, VA
- 25 Yards (SCY)
- Live Results: “2023 Cavalier Invitational” on MeetMobile
- Teams: UVA, George Washington, James Madison, Johns Hopkins, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Richmond, William & Mary
At this point, we all know the Virginia women are the defending NCAA Champions and are looking for their three-peat this year. We also know that Kate Douglass broke her own American Record in the 200 breast during a time trial (yes, a time trial) swimming a 2:01.43, and Alex Walsh also swam a 1:51.95 200 IM to put up the top time in the NCAA this season.
Something that may have flown slightly under the radar this weekend was the potential Aimee Canny may have for the defending National Champions come this post-season.
This weekend, Canny swam a 1:56.68 200 IM in prelims (before scratching the event in finals), a 22.31 in the 50 free, and a 1:42.78 in the 200 free. Her 200 free time stands at #2 in the NCAA so far this season, only 0.05 seconds behind Kelly Pash of Texas who swam a 1:42.73 a week ago in a dual meet against NC State.
Canny, a 2020 Tokyo Olympian for South Africa, arrived at Virginia during the middle of the season and only began competing for the team this January. She came in with long course best times of 25.29 in the 50 free, 54.71 in the 100 free, and 1:58.34 in the 200 free. Those converted to 22.08, 47.99, and 1:43.79 in short course yards respectively.
Virginia was very excited about Canny, one could argue maybe even over-excited based on her long course conversions considering the fact that the team is home to the sprinting duo of Gretchen Walsh and Kate Douglass (and not to forget about their depth with swimmers such as Lexi Cuomo, Maxine Parker, and Reilly Tiltmann all of which can be valuable relay pieces). It is pretty clear that Virginia knew something about her potential, and it looks as if that something is coming true.
The Virginia women had no ‘A’ finalists in the 200 free at last year’s NCAAs, one of the few events where they only had a swimmer in the “down/B” final. Notably, though, Reilly Tiltmann was ninth in a 1:43.55 and was only 0.06 off of making the A final during prelims. Canny’s time from this past weekend would have earned the Cavaliers an A final swim and she would have finished fifth overall.
Her 200 free from this weekend also boosts their 800 free relay. Last year’s relay of Tiltmann, Alex Walsh, Ella Nelson, and Emma Weyant swam a 6:53.47 for second. Weyant, who has since transferred to Florida, had the slowest split of the four with a 1:44.80. If we subject in a potential 0.5 flying start from Canny’s 1:42.78 we are around a 1:42.28, overall cutting 2.52 seconds from the team’s relay, but will that be enough to overtake the Stanford women in the 800 free relay?
Stanford’s 800 free relay finished over five seconds ahead of Virginia, so clearly, 2.5 seconds is not sufficient, holding all else constant. The team of Torri Huske (1:41.93), Taylor Ruck (1:40.49), Regan Smith (1:43.35), and Brooke Forde (1:42.53) swam to a final time of 6:48.30. Stanford has to fill the holes with the loses of Smith and Forde but they have options for that. In their freshmen class alone, Claire Curzan has a best time of 1:42.4 and Kayla Wilson has a best time of 1:43.1. Without the considerations for a flying start, the two freshmen’s best times are actually faster than Smith and Forde’s add up (by about 0.3 seconds). Stanford also has Lillie Nordmann as an option. Nordmann has a best time of 1:42.63 which she swam to finish fourth in the event individual at NCAAs last year.
What does this all really mean in the end? Canny clearly now has the potential to make a huge impact in the individual 200 free at NCAAs, especially as it was the ONLY event the Virginia women had no A finalists in. Only time will tell if the five-second gap in last year’s 800 free relay will be too much to overcome, but what is likely, is the gap will indeed shrink.
She dropped at least one second via proximity to Kate Douglass
Gretchen with her first (and hopefully last) loss of the season.
The secret is out of the bag, darn it! Canny was ranked #13 (as high as #6) in the 2022 recruiting class by Collegeswimming.com based on long course times. With UVA coaching, she was bound to get better, but I was hoping it wouldn’t be so obvious until at least ACCs. Oh, well…..
AIMEE CANNY 2023 NCAA CHAMPION 1:41.27 YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST
Quite a splash for Ms. Canny. What’s her third event? 2IM or 50 free?
What about the damage she could do in the 100 individually with 50 speed and 200 endurance?!
It means it’s unlikely UVA will use Alex Walsh on the 800 Free Relay. Stanford is pretty much guaranteed the win with Ruck, Curzan, Huske, and Wilson. With Canney, they most likely will allow Walsh to rest and use her for the 4×50/4×100 free/medley relays. Canney, Tuggle, Tiltmann, and Nelson.
Well actually, I regret what i just said. it may be a better reason to use Walsh. Walsh goes a 1:41, Nelson 1:42, Canney 1:41, and Tuggle 1:43, that’s 6:47. Stanford and UVA could be co favorites in this.
Why not just use Tiltmann? She is A final speed.
That’s a good point. Depending on how Tuggle does at ACC’s, i see a bit more potential in Tuggle at the moment.
This entire conversation is why there’s still no doubt that Virginia is going to win the team title, even with good recent performances by Texas.
They’re just so loaded.
Does she upset Taylor Ruck at NC’s?
I don’t think so. But momentum is one hell of a drug.
Got to think this being Taylor Ruck’s final NCAA meet she could get under 1:40. It will take a huge huge performance to beat her if that is the time.