ATLANTA, March 16, 2022—University of Virginia got off to a great start Wednesday on Day One of the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Center.
The Cavaliers broke their own NCAA record in the 200-yard medley relay in 1:32.16 with Gretchen Walsh, Alexis Wenger, Lexi Cuomo and Kate Douglass , the same foursome that broke the NCAA record at the ACC Championships last month. This time broke the NCAA meet record of 1:33.11 set by Stanford in 2018 (Allie Howe, Kim Williams, Janet Hu and Simone Manuel).
“At ACCs, we exceeded expectations for this relay,” Douglass said. “Coming into this meet, we wanted to go faster if we could, but our goal was to win our team’s first relay title in this event.”
Walsh split a 22.81 on the backstroke leading off, Wenger went 26.08 in the breaststroke, Cuomo split 22.72 in the butterfly and Douglass anchored a 20.55 freestyle split.
Stanford won the 800-yard freestyle relay with a star-studded lineup. The all-Olympian group of Torri Huske (1:41.93), Taylor Ruck (1:40.49), Regan Smith (1:43.35) and Brooke Forde (1:42.53) combined to swim 6:48.30, more than five seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
“It is really special to start like this and do it with a couple of veterans like Taylor and Brooke,” Huske said.
Stanford won its 12th national title in NCAA history in this relay, four more than any other school in history. It’s also the third time Forde has been a member of the winning relay after swimming the third leg of the 2018 relay and anchoring the Cardinals to a win in 2019. Ruck was also part of the squad in 2019 in her only previous appearance at NCAAs, while Huske and Smith both made their NCAA Championships debut.
Katharine Berkoff of N.C. State became the top performer of all-time in the 50 backstroke posting a 22.76 leading off NC State’s runner-up 200 medley relay.
Berkoff was the third fastest performer in history and topped Gretchen Walsh’s 22.82 backstroke split from the ACC Championships last month.
With first and second places in the relays, Virginia took an early lead with 74 points. Texas is second with 58 and California is third with 56 points.
Individual races Thursday with the Top 16 from prelims in each event advancing to finals. Prelims are 10 a.m., with finals at 6 p.m.
All three Florida Gold Coast swimmers compete Thursday. University of Florida junior Kathleen Golding swims the first of three events, the 200 IM. Teammate Anna Auld will swim the 500 freestyle. Jessica Nava of Virginia swims the 50 freestyle.
ESPN3 will provide digital broadcast coverage for preliminary and finals sessions through Saturday.
Day 2, Thursday, 500 freestyle, 200 IM, 50 freestyle, 1-meter diving, 200 free relay (finals only).
Day 3, Friday, 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, 3-meter diving, 400 medley relay (finals only).
Day 4, Saturday, 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, platform diving, 1650 freestyle (3:45 p.m. start), 400 free relay (finals only).
The official website for the women’s championship is http://www.ncaa.com/championships/swimming-women/d1.
As the host college, Georgia Tech’s website also features the Championship Central, where heat sheets and results will be updated each day.
The DI Women’s Swimming & Diving Program can be viewed at http://www.NCAA.com/gameprograms. The program is free to view and can be downloaded and printed.
TEAM TOTALS: 1. Virginia 74, 2. Texas 58, 3. California 56, 4. Stanford 54, 5. Louisville 46, 6. NC State 44, 7. tie, Ohio State, Alabama 38, 9. tie, Georgia, Tennessee 34, 11. Florida 26.
200-yard medley relay:
- Virginia 1:32.16 (Gretchen Walsh, Alexis Wenger, Lexi Cuomo, ate Douglass), 2. NC State 1:32.96, 3. Ohio State 1:33.16, 19. Florida State 1:36.28 (Tania Quaglieri, Nina Kucheran, Jenny Halden, Rebecca Moynihan).
800-yard freestyle relay:
- Stanford 6:48.30 (Torri Huske, Taylor Ruck, Regan Smith, Brooke Forde) 2. Virginia 6:53.47, 3. California 6:53.52, 6. Florida 6:56.96 (Talia Bates, Ekaterina Nikonova, Micayla Cronk, Tylor Mathieu).
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org