Emma Weyant, Carson Foster Win Two Each; Virginia Women Narrowly Ahead of Texas and Longhorn Men Up Big

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Emma Weyant -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Emma Weyant, Carson Foster Win Two Each; Virginia Women Narrowly Ahead of Texas and Longhorn Men Up Big

The highly-anticipated dual meet between the Virginia Cavaliers and the Texas Longhorns in Charlottesville got underway Friday afternoon, and while the Texas men have opened up a strong lead in the men’s competition, the women’s meet is a one-point affair heading into day two. The showdown between Virginia’s women, the reigning NCAA champions,and Texas, the third-place finisher at last year’s end-of-season meet, has lived up to the hype. After the first of two days of racing, Virginia leads Texas by just one point, 103 to 102, as 400 IM Olympic silver medalist Emma Weyant has captured two individual wins, while Carson Foster and co. have Texas up by an massive 156-49 score over UVA.

The women’s meet saw Virginia open up with a big win in the women’s 200 medley relay. The team of Gretchen Walsh (23.33), Alexis Wenger (26.51), Alex Walsh (23.04) and Kate Douglass (21.37) swam a final time of 1:34.25, faster than all but two teams from last year’s NCAA Championships (NC State and Virginia) and three seconds ahead of Texas.

Then, Weyant went to work. First, she won the 400 IM in 4:05.68, and fellow Cavalier Ella Nelson placed second in 4:08.10. Later in the day, Weyant out-dueled 1500 free Olympic silver medalist Erica Sullivan to win the 1000 free, 9:42.71 to 9:47.39. Also for Virginia, Douglass easily won the 50 free in 22.07, Gretchen Walsh posted an impressive 51.12 to win the 100 back, and Wenger took down Texas’ Anna Elendt to win the 100 breast, 58.88 to 59.33.

Texas, meanwhile, went 1-2 in the women’s 200 fly with sophomore Emma Sticklen (1:54.46) and junior Kelly Pash (1:54.57) taking down Alex Walsh (1:54.79). All three of those times would have scored in the top 16 at last year’s NCAA Championships. Before that, Pash easily won the 200 free in 1:45.88, and Texas also picked up two wins in diving: Hailey Hernandez on 1-meter (333.00) and Paola Pineda Vazquez on 3-meter (365.40).

Texas’ women actually had the lead heading into the last relay, but the Cavalier women ended the sesson with another big win, this time by two seconds. Douglass (48.44), Gretchen Walsh (47.77), Lexi Cuomo (49.28) and Alex Walsh (48.65) put up a 3:14.14 in the 400 free relay.

On the men’s side, the Texas men, last year’s NCAA champions and the nation’s top team in five of the last six championship meets, have been as impressive as expected. The squad of Anthony GrimmCaspar CorbeauAlvin Jiang and Danny Krueger opened up with a 1:25.92 victory in the 200 medley relay, leaving Virginia’s squad four tenths adrift, even after Matt King anchored in 19.25.

Immediately after, Carson Foster delivered a 400 IM performance that was, at least by in-season standards, special. Foster swam a 3:40.48 in the 400 IM, beating the field by five seconds. Finishing second was his older brother, Jake, in 3:45.94, and Texas’ David Johnston took third to complete the 1-2-3 sweep. Later on, Carson Foster won the 200 fly, typically not one of his primary events, in 1:44.29. Once again, Texas finished 1-2, this time with Ethan Harder grabbing that second spot.

Drew Kibler, a member of the U.S. men’s 800 free relay at the Olympics, won the 200 free in 1:36.19, with Texas teammates Coby Carroza and Peter Larson just behind. Krueger then edged out UVA’s Matt Brownstead to win the 50 free, 19.69 to 19.77. Jiang (47.93) and Grimm (48.13) went 1-2 in the 100 back, and Corbeau took down UVA’s Noah Nichols, 52.82 to 53.13, to win the men’s 100 breast. The final individual event of the day saw Johnston take the win in the 1000 free in 9:01.85, with Luke Hobson and Alex Zettle going 2-3 for the Longhorns. In diving, Texas’ Jordan Windle swrpt 1-meter (411.15) and 3-meter (420.75).

The Texas men then capped off a completely dominant day one by winning the 400 free relay with Cameron Auchinachie, Kibler, Carson Foster and Krueger. Krueger dove into the water barely ahead of UVA anchor Brownstead, but he split 42.34 (compared to Brownstead’s 42.69) to pull ahead slightly and win in 2:53.16, compared to 2:35.68 for Virginia.

The meet will continue Saturday morning at 10am. Results for the meet are available here.