Carson Foster, Caspar Corbeau Lead Texas to Narrow Win Over Virginia in Combined Dual Meet

Carson Foster -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Carson Foster, Caspar Corbeau Lead Texas to Narrow Win Over Virginia in Combined Dual Meet

In the premier clash of the college swimming season so far, the University of Texas defeated the University of Virginia in a combined-gender meet Friday evening in Austin. The Longhorn men have won 15 national titles under head coach Eddie Reese while the women have surged under head coach Carol Capitani, topping out with last year’s second-place finish. Meanwhile, Todd DeSorbo has led the Virginia women to back-to-back national titles, both in dominant fashion. So this was best-vs.-best, and the meet lived up to all the billing in a 171-to-159 Texas win.

In the opening event of the meet, Virginia’s women were utterly dominant over not only Texas but every other team in the country as Gretchen Walsh (23.13), Alex Walsh (26.84), Kate Douglass (22.60) and Maxine Parker (21.76) swam by far the fastest time in the nation in the 200 medley relay at 1:34.33. Gretchen Walsh and Douglass each returned from last year’s national-title-winning relay, while Walsh filled in for the graduated Alexis Wenger on breaststroke and transfer swimmer Parker handled the anchor split. Texas finished second in 1:37.30, making the Longhorns the third-best team in the country so far this season (and just marginally behind USC’s 1:37.18), but Virginia is in another world.

Texas then got on the board in a blazing men’s medley relay. The team of Carson FosterWill ChanCaspar Corbeau and Daniel Krueger swam a time of 1:23.83, just ahead of Virginia’s team of Max Edwards, Noah Nichols, Matt King and Matt Brownstead (1:24.09). Texas has lost three of the four men from last year’s 200 medley relay team that finished second at NCAAs, and the only returnee, Corbeau, shifted from breaststroke to butterfly to compensate for the losses. These two times were the best in the country so far this year.

The women’s 200 freestyle saw Texas’ Kelly Pash swim the fastest time in the country this year at 1:44.78, while Virginia’s Ella Nelson went 1:45.35, good for third nationally behind Pash and Alex Walsh. In the men’s 200 free, the Texas duo of Luke Hobson (1:32.74) and Coby Carrozza (1:33.09) crushed the previous No. 1 time nationally (Jack Dahlgren’s 1:33.48) while David Johnston finished off the 1-2-3 sweep for Texas.

Douglass won convincingly in the 100 butterfly in 51.42 (fourth-best nationally), while Foster (46.57) and Cole Crane (46.62) went 1-2 for Texas in the 100 fly. Foster is best known for his IM abilities, and he rarely races events shorter than 200 yards, but he was a sprinter Friday and very valuable in the role. Foster later dominated the 100 backstroke with a time of 45.82, the second-best mark in the country this year.

A high-powered showdown in the women’s 100 breaststroke saw Texas’ Anna Elendt win convincingly in 58.14 over Alex Walsh (58.95) and the Texas freshman who won Olympic gold in the 100-meter breast in 2021, Lydia Jacoby (58.96). Corbeau turned on the jets to beat Virginia’s Noah Nichols in the men’s 100 breast, 51.30 to 51.74.

Gretchen Walsh, the younger of the siblings, put forth a dominant effort in the women’s 50 free with a mark of 21.16 that only four women (Douglass, Abbey Weitzeil, Walsh and Erika Brown) have ever beaten. Later on, Walsh finished well ahead of Douglass in a 100 IM win, 52.09 to 53.01.

Virginia’s men got their first win and first 1-2 finish of the day in the men’s 50 free, where Brownstead swam a time of 19.29 to edge out King (19.38) and Texas’ Krueger (19.40). But the last three individual men’s events of the day went to the Longhorns, with Corbeau vaulting ahead of Virginia’s Jack Aikins to win the 100 IM (47.72 to 48.13) and Johnston winning the 500 free (4:14.54) before Foster’s second win in the 100 back.

In another exciting showdown, Virginia freshman Claire Tuggle overtook Texas Olympian Erica Sullivan over the last 100 yards of the 500 free to win in 4:46.27, two tenths ahead of Sullivan’s 4:46.47. In the women’s 100 back, Alex Walsh secured her only individual win with a time of 52.10, with Reilly Tiltmann not far behind at 52.50.

Finally, the Virginia team of Brownstead, King, Douglass and Gretchen Walsh secured the win over Texas in the mixed 400 free relay. Virginia’s team clocked 2:58.50, while Texas’ Krueger, Corbeau, Pash and Bridget Semenuk went 3:01.91. The race was extremely tight over the first 300 yards, particularly when King split 42.06 to move the Longhorns into the lead. The younger Walsh went in for the anchor leg with a lead of less than three tenths, and then she split a ridiculous 46.20 coming home to easily put away Texas, even if it would not be enough for a team win.