NCAA Women’s Championships: Douglass-Walsh 200 IM Showdown Thursday (Heat Sheets)

Alex Walsh -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

NCAA Women’s Championships: Douglass-Walsh 200 IM Showdown Thursday (Heat Sheets)

After two-time defending national champion Virginia picked up wins in the 200 medley relay and 800 freestyle relay to open the NCAA Women’s Championships Wednesday evening in Knoxville, Tenn., the meet will continue with individual racing Thursday morning. In a session beginning at 10 a.m. ET, the 500 freestyle, 200 IM and 50 freestyle will be on the slate.

Click here to view the full heat sheet.

In the 500 free, the top 22 entrants have all broken 4:40 so far this season, and leading the way is Texas’ Erica Sullivan, the Olympic silver medalist in the 1500-meter free. Sullivan will be joined by teammate Olivia Bray as a top contender in the final heat of the event while 2022 runnerup Emma Weyant (who beat Sullivan by one spot last year) is seeded fifth. Sisters Rachel Stege (Georgia) and Kristen Stege (Tennessee) each occupy lane four in their respective heats.

A loaded field in the 200 IM includes two of the three medalists in the long course version of the event from the Tokyo Olympics, Virginia teammates Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass. Walsh, the Tokyo silver medalist and the world champion in the 200-meter IM in 2022, has won this event at the last two NCAA Championships, and she owns the American record at 1:50.07. Meanwhile, Douglass won bronze in the 200-meter IM at the Olympics and made a triumphant return to the event at the 2022 Short Course World Championships, where she won gold, and she fell just eighth hundredths shy of Walsh’s American record at the ACC meet last month.

Walsh and Douglass each occupy lane four in their respective heats while a fellow member of the 2021 U.S. Olympic team, Stanford’s Torri Huske, enters as the third seed. There is a third Cavalier seeded in the top-five with Ella Nelson, who anchored UVA’s winning 800 free relay squad Wednesday, while versatile Texas Longhorn Kelly Pash is sure to be in the mix.

In the final event of the morning, Virginia’s Gretchen Walsh enters as the top seed in the 50 free after her time of 20.83 last month broke the American and NCAA records previously held by Douglass, who has opted out of the splash-and-dash this year to focus on the 200 IM. Walsh will be challenged by LSU’s Maggie Mac Neil, who has also broken 21 this season, while the Louisville duo of Gabi Albiero and Christiana Regenauer are seeded third and fourth, respectively.

Later in the day, qualifying for women’s 1-meter diving will take place, and at night, finals will be held for those individual events plus the 200 free relay.

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