2022 NCAA Women’s Championships: Alex Walsh Edges Olivia Carter, Regan Smith for 200 Butterfly Title

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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2022 NCAA Women’s Championships: Alex Walsh Edges Olivia Carter, Regan Smith for 200 Butterfly Title

The 2022 NCAA Women’s Division I Swimming and Diving Championships continued with the finals of the 200 butterfly.

The 200 butterfly could see anyone from the field claim the title as the top seven finalists are all about a second a part and the top five were within a half second of each other during prelims.

Stanford’s Regan Smith was coming off of a double with the 200 backstroke. Meanwhile, Texas’ Emma Sticklen took the top seed ahead of Georgia’s Dakota Luther and Smith.

Of course, defending NCAA champion Olivia Carter of Michigan was looming with the fourth seed as well, embracing the race of the chaser as she did a year ago, plus there was Virginia’s Alex Walsh, who has won both of her individual events this week, plus two more Texas swimmers looking to try and vault the Longhorns into second place in the team standings.

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The race lived up to expectations with Walsh and Carter out in front at the halfway point, and heading into the final turn, neck-and-neck. They turned together and approached the wall together with Walsh having just a hair more in the tank in the final yards.

Walsh won her third title with a 1:50.79, holding off Carter who finished in 1:51.19, tying a surging Regan Smith for second place, who had a huge final 50 to catch the other two.

“It is the last session, so I tried to leave it all in the pool,” Walsh said. “I just wanted to get my hand to the wall first.”

That is what Smith tried to do as well.

“I knew it wouldn’t feel good but it was my last individual race so I wanted to leave it in the pool and stick to my own race plan. I think I did a good job of that. Making your move in a 2-fly feels great. It is super easy to crash and die in a 2-fly. But it feels awesome to get to the 150 and feel like you had some gas left in the tank. I am really proud of myself and I think I had a great finish. You can’t ask for much more,” Smith said.

Georgia’s Dakota Luther was fourth in 1:51.80. Cal junior Rachel Klinker was sixth (1:52.19).

Texas took 5-7-8 with Kelly Pash (1:52.01), Emma Sticklen (1:52.22) and Olivia Bray (1:52.31), scoring some big points for the Longhorns, who were closing in on Stanford with a couple of events remaining in the meet.

NCAA Event 19  Women 200 Yard Butterfly
=========================================================================
         NCAA: N 1:49.51  2/24/2018 Ella Eastin, Stanford
         Meet: M 1:50.01  3/17/2018 Ella Eastin, Stanford
     American: A 1:49.51  2/24/2018 Ella Eastin, Stanford
      US Open: O 1:49.51  2/24/2018 Ella Eastin, Stanford
         Pool: P 1:50.61  3/19/2016 Kelsi Worrell, Louisville
    Name                 Year School            Prelims     Finals Points 
=========================================================================
                       === Championship Final ===                        
 
  1 Walsh, Alex            SO Virginia          1:51.90    1:50.79   20  
    r:+0.75  24.52        52.28 (27.76)
        1:21.05 (28.77)     1:50.79 (29.74)
  2 Carter, Olivia         SR Michigan          1:51.86    1:51.19   16.5
    r:+0.66  25.19        52.97 (27.78)
        1:21.33 (28.36)     1:51.19 (29.86)
  2 Smith, Regan           FR Stanford          1:51.76    1:51.19   16.5
    r:+0.68  25.52        54.17 (28.65)
        1:22.56 (28.39)     1:51.19 (28.63)
  4 Luther, Dakota         SR Georgia           1:51.64    1:51.80   15  
    r:+0.67  25.18        53.58 (28.40)
        1:22.09 (28.51)     1:51.80 (29.71)
  5 Pash, Kelly            JR Texas             1:52.42    1:52.01   14  
    r:+0.69  25.19        53.39 (28.20)
        1:22.16 (28.77)     1:52.01 (29.85)
  6 Klinker, Rachel        JR California        1:53.37    1:52.19   13  
    r:+0.69  25.25        53.50 (28.25)
        1:22.14 (28.64)     1:52.19 (30.05)
  7 Sticklen, Emma         SO Texas             1:51.45    1:52.22   12  
    r:+0.64  24.88        53.06 (28.18)
        1:22.25 (29.19)     1:52.22 (29.97)
  8 Bray, Olivia           SO Texas             1:52.61    1:52.31   11  
    r:+0.71  24.36        52.50 (28.14)
        1:21.78 (29.28)     1:52.31 (30.53)
 
                        === Consolation Final ===                        
 
  9 Nordmann, Lillie       FR Stanford          1:53.63    1:53.20    9  
    r:+0.65  25.37        53.78 (28.41)
        1:23.00 (29.22)     1:53.20 (30.20)
 10 Looney, Lindsay        JR ASU               1:54.04    1:53.25    7  
    r:+0.65  25.13        53.45 (28.32)
        1:22.93 (29.48)     1:53.25 (30.32)
 11 Harter, Abby           SO Virginia          1:53.89    1:53.38    6  
    r:+0.73  25.31        54.19 (28.88)
        1:23.61 (29.42)     1:53.38 (29.77)
 12 Ulett, Tristen         SO Louisville        1:54.81    1:53.63    5  
    r:+0.73  25.18        53.97 (28.79)
        1:23.28 (29.31)     1:53.63 (30.35)
 13 Gaines, Riley          SR Kentucky          1:53.63    1:53.67    4  
    r:+0.65  25.26        53.77 (28.51)
        1:22.91 (29.14)     1:53.67 (30.76)
 14 Hay, Abby              JR Louisville        1:54.70    1:54.44    3  
    r:+0.74  24.85        53.24 (28.39)
        1:23.40 (30.16)     1:54.44 (31.04)
 15 Kraus, Alena           SR Louisville        1:54.83    1:54.81    2  
    r:+0.67  25.18        54.02 (28.84)
        1:23.78 (29.76)     1:54.81 (31.03)
 16 Sheble, Grace          FR NCSU              1:54.75    1:54.96    1  
    r:+0.67  25.91        55.16 (29.25)
        1:24.93 (29.77)     1:54.96 (30.03)