2022 NCAA Women’s Championship: Virginia’s Gretchen Walsh Claims First NCAA Title Embracing Doing ‘Amazing Things’

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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The 2022 NCAA Women’s Division I Swimming and Diving Championships continued with the finals of the 100 freestyle.

Heading into the meet, the event looked to be a showdown with Michigan’s Maggie Mac Neil, the defending champion, plus upstart freshmen Torri Huske of Stanford and Gretchen Walsh of Virginia.

But Mac Neil, Huske and Cal’s Isabel Ivey, three title contenders, stunningly made the B final, shifting the focus to another anticipated duel between Walsh and NC State’s Katharine Berkoff. Berkoff edged Walsh to win the 100 backstroke on Saturday as both swimmers were under the previous American record.

In the 100 free final, all eyes were on the same duo, and of course, Penn’s Lia Thomas who was competing in her final event of the meet and Yale’s Iszac Henig, a transgender male who has not undergone any hormonal therapy or changes.

Virginia freshman Gretchen Walsh claimed her first NCAA individual title with a 46.05 performance in the 100 freestyle. Her time is fourth-best all time in the event.

“Being able to come here and do stuff like this is amazing,” Walsh said. We all proved something to ourselves at this meet. It couldn’t have gone better. It is just a matter of time before we do something that is history in the making.”

Alabama’s Morgan Scott was second in 46.78, followed by Berkoff (46.95).

Scott took the lead at the 50 turn before Walsh used strong underwater to take the lead at the 75 turn.

Alabama had two in the top four as Cora Dupre took fourth from Lane 1 with a time of 47.08.

Louisville’s Gabi Albiero finished fifth (47.32) tied with Henig. North Carolina’s Grace Countie was seventh (47.36), followed by Thomas (48.18).

Thomas received more cheers than she did earlier in the week and Henig was met with a decent amount of cheers as well both in race introductions and on the podium.

Walsh said she thought of everyone an opponent, but realized the NCAA history of the event.

“I never expected this to happen, and I don’t think (many did),” Walsh said. “This year is historical for so many reasons. I knew I would be racing Lia and I was treating everyone as a fair competitor. I came here to do the best for me and I was really happy with my swim.”

With a good number of stars in the consolation final, it had the feel and energy of a final from the crowd and the fellow swimmers.

Huske won the B final from Lane 1 with a time of 46.98 to finish ninth. Mac Neil was next, 10th overall, in 47.42, followed by Michigan teammate Lindsay Flynn (47.67).

Day 4 Prelims Results

Day 4 Finals Heat Sheets

Live Results

Event 17  Women 100 Yard Freestyle
=========================================================================
         NCAA: N 45.56  3/18/2017 Simone Manuel, Stanford
         Meet: M 45.56  3/17/2017 Simone Manuel, Stanford
     American: A 45.56  3/18/2017 Simone Manuel, Stanford
      US Open: O 45.56  3/18/2017 Simone Manuel, Stanford
         Pool: P 46.70  3/19/2016 Olivia Smoliga, Georgia
    Name                 Year School            Prelims     Finals Points 
=========================================================================
                       === Championship Final ===                        
 
  1 Walsh, Gretchen        FR Virginia            46.78      46.05P  20  
    r:+0.75  22.10        46.05 (23.95)
  2 Scott, Morgan          SR Alabama             47.27      46.78   17  
    r:+0.65  22.08        46.78 (24.70)
  3 Berkoff, Katharine     JR NCSU                46.89      46.95   16  
    r:+0.67  22.41        46.95 (24.54)
  4 Dupre, Cora            JR Alabama             47.51      47.08   15  
    r:+0.60  22.54        47.08 (24.54)
  5 Henig, Iszac           JR Yale                47.55      47.32   13.5
    r:+0.60  22.65        47.32 (24.67)
  5 Albiero, Gabi          SO Louisville          47.45      47.32   13.5
    r:+0.60  22.90        47.32 (24.42)
  7 Countie, Grace         SR UNC                 47.50      47.36   12  
    r:+0.73  22.67        47.36 (24.69)
  8 Thomas, Lia            5Y Penn                47.37      48.18   11  
    r:+0.73  23.19        48.18 (24.99)
 
                        === Consolation Final ===                        
 
  9 Huske, Torri           FR Stanford            48.12      46.98    9  
    r:+0.60  22.32        46.98 (24.66)
 10 MacNeil, Maggie        SR Michigan            47.77      47.42    7  
    r:+0.63  22.65        47.42 (24.77)
 11 Flynn, Lindsay         FR Michigan            47.94      47.67    6  
    r:+0.66  22.88        47.67 (24.79)
 12 Alons, Kylee           SR NCSU                48.02      47.68    5  
    r:+0.64  22.77        47.68 (24.91)
 13 Ivey, Isabel           SR California          47.61      47.71    4  
    r:+0.70  22.76        47.71 (24.95)
 14 Zenick, Katherine      SO Ohio St             47.91      47.85    3  
    r:+0.61  22.88        47.85 (24.97)
 15 Antoniou, Kalia        SR Alabama             47.84      47.93    2  
    r:+0.67  23.16        47.93 (24.77)
 16 Bates, Talia           JR Florida             48.14      47.95    1  
    r:+0.70  23.13        47.95 (24.82)
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Billy
Billy
1 year ago

It’s plain to see that Thomas did not even try to swim fast. He swam just about as slow as possible knowing that if he swam faster and won or had placed in the top three would have gotten him even more criticism. What a joke that swim was, now off to the TV talk show circuit where he can make some serious cash. Cha-thing $$$$!

Bradley Swenson
Bradley Swenson
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy

I suspected sandbagging on his part in the two events he didn’t medal. He won his notoriety in the 500 m and can claim the long distance event is where he excels, although he didn’t win by that many seconds, furthering his claim that he really doesn’t possess an advantage over the true women. However, earlier events he won this season would prove that to be false. Were this any other sport, he’d be disqualified and banned for tanking.

Ray
Ray
1 year ago

Amen

Veritas
Veritas
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy

I’ve been very critical of Lia Thomas competing against women, but I don’t think you are right. His 100 free time in prelims is much closer to his lifetime best time than his 500 free time was. It’s not unusual to be a little slower in finals especially on the last day of a multi-day meet. And there are all sorts of little things that can happen in the 100 to make you several tenths slower than your prelims time.

Michelle Roberts
Michelle Roberts
1 year ago
Reply to  Veritas

Regardless of her ability level, lets not Misgender her.

sbs
sbs
1 year ago

Lia Thomas is not a she. Shes don’t have male anatomy

Ray
Ray
1 year ago
Reply to  sbs

You mean Will Thomas

Dann
Dann
1 year ago

Lia could have handed them their lunch, but swam like a girl instead. It was an obvious move to de-escalate the amount of backlash he would have received.

David Bateman
David Bateman
1 year ago
Reply to  Dann

Still gross af

David Bateman
David Bateman
1 year ago

Disgusting…just nasty

Nunya Bidness
Nunya Bidness
1 year ago

Women’s sports is not a second chance for mediocre male athletes. You are witnessing the TRUE War on Women. The Left wants them erased from history.

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