Kate Douglass Dashes to 21.46 50 Free as Returning Olympians Highlight Virginia Intrasquad

Kate Douglass -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Kate Douglass Dashes to 21.46 50 Free as Returning Olympians Highlight Virginia Intrasquad

With the calendar having shifted to October, college dual meet action is on its way back, and the University of Virginia kicked off its season with a Saturday morning intrasquad that featured some recognized events (the 50 freestyle and 100 IM) but also 50s and 150s of each stroke, a 300 and 600 free and a 300 IM. Virginia’s women are returning the bulk of a squad that won its first-ever NCAA team title last season while adding in two new stars, while the Cavalier men have a lot to build on following last year’s return to the top 10 in the ninth spot.

The most impressive swimmer at the intrasquad was Kate Douglass, who finished first in four individual events but most notably swam a 21.48 in the 50 free. That is just four tenths off her lifetime best of 21.09, which she swam to win last year’s NCAA title and ranks No. 3 all-time in the event. Douglass, the bronze medalist in the 200 IM at her first Olympics this summer, also won the 150 free (1:14.99), the 150 fly (1:21.98) and 50 fly (22.56). Before any of her individual races, Douglass also anchored the Third Years’ winning 200 mixed medley relay in 20.90.

Finishing one spot ahead of Douglass in that Olympic final was her Virginia teammate Alex Walsh. Walsh won the 300 IM in 3:00.90, finished second in the 50 breast and then won the 150 breast in 1:33.45. Finally, she faced off with new UVA teammate and younger sister Gretchen Walsh in the 100 IM and came out on top, 53.08 to 53.54.

The younger Walsh is sure to be a favorite in the sprint events this year at the ACC level and even at the national level, and she started out with a 20.95 anchor split on the mixed medley relay before winning the 50 back (23.86) and placing second to Douglass in the 50 free (21.63). Walsh’s best time in the 50 free sits at 21.41, ranked 13th all-time.

The third U.S. Olympian now competing for Virginia is Emma Weyant, who remained at home in Sarasota, Florida, during what would have been her first year in Charlottesville. After winning a silver medal in the 400 IM in Tokyo, Weyant began this campaign by winning the 600 free (5:45.49) and 300 free (2:45.78) and placing second to Walsh in the 300 IM.

Other winners on the women’s side included Alexis Wenger in the 50 breast (26.97) and Reilly Tiltmann in the 150 back (1:23.38).

Meanwhile, the Virginia men will boast one of the country’s top sprint groups this season led by second-year swimmers Matt Brownstead and Matt King. King is a transfer swimmer from Alabama who swam under 19 as a freshman while Brownstead was a consolation finalist in the 50 free last season. In their first race here, Brownstead edged out King, 19.75 to 19.83. Brownstead also was victorious in the 150 free (1:08.95).

The only triple event winner was Sean Conway, who won the 300 IM (2:44.64), 150 back (1:14.19) and 100 IM (48.44). Jack Walker was the winner of the 600 free (5:25.00) and 300 free (2:35.58), and Justin Grender topped the 50 back (22.01) and 150 fly (1:18.03). The top breaststroker at the intrasquad was Noah Nichols, who finished first in the 50 (24.75) and 150 (1:24.48). Max Edwards edged out Brownstead to win the 50 fly, 21.31 to 21.35.

In diving, Elizabeth Kaye won both the 1-meter and 3-meter events for the women, and Walker Creedon won both for the men.

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Cale F. Brownstead
1 year ago

Fun meet to listen to thanks to Brett Hawke!

1 year ago

This inter-squad meet is a joke….why not swim full races…