NCAA Women’s Championships: Virginia Caps Off Dominant Meet With American Record in 400 Free Relay

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Virginia broke the American, NCAA and U.S. Open records in the 400 freestyle relay -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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NCAA Women’s Championships: Virginia Caps Off Dominant Meet With American Record in 400 Free Relay

At the conclusion of a dominant swim meet, the University of Virginia women capped off their NCAA-title-winning performance by breaking the American, NCAA and U.S. Open records in the 400 freestyle relay. The quartet of Kate Douglass (46.62), Alex Walsh (46.49), Reilly Tiltmann (46.49) and Gretchen Walsh (46.01) combined for a time of 3:06.91, edging out the previous all-time best of 3:06.96 set by California in 2019 and crushing the old American record of 3:07.61 that Stanford set in 2017.

Stanford’s team of Torri HuskeLillie NordmannRegan Smith and Taylor Ruck placed second in 3:08.97, but that was not enough for Stanford to move ahead of Texas for second place in the final team standings as the Longhorns placed ninth to maintain part of the 22.5-point advance they built during platform diving.

The Alabama team of Diana PetkovaMorgan ScottKalia Antoniou and Cora Dupre finished third in 3:09.07, just a tenth behind Stanford, while NC State and Michigan tied for fourth in 3:09.95.

The win was the fourth of the competition for Virginia after previous wins in the 200 freestyle relay, 200 medley relay and 400 medley relay, and the Cavaliers also placed second to Stanford in the 800 free relay. Douglass and Gretchen Walsh were part of all four relay wins, while Alex Walsh was a contributor to three of those squads. Virginia now owns American, NCAA and U.S. Open records in all four shorter relays after setting three at the ACC Championships last month and then matching the record in the 400 medley relay Friday. The record was also the seventh set or tied this meet, and all but one (the women’s 100 backstroke) was by a Virginia swimmer or relay team.

The win put the finishing touches on Virginia’s second consecutive national title as the Cavaliers ended the meet with 551.5 points, 145.5 ahead of second-place Texas.

“Last year was awesome for us, but I kind of feel like we walked into the meet knowing there was a good chance we were going to win,” Douglass said. “This year, there was a target on our back and it would be more competitive trying to win this year. From the first prelims session, we started off really great, and we just kept it momentum going. We all exceeded expectations at this meet. This relay was a great way to top it off, and it was so much fun.”

Final team scores:

  1. Virginia                        551.5   2. Texas                             406
  3. Stanford                        399.5   4. Alabama                           288
  5. NC State                          279   6. Louisville                      196.5
  7. Michigan                        184.5   8. California                        180
  9. Ohio St                           165  10. Tennessee                         127
 11. Indiana                           116  12. Kentucky                        115.5
 13. Florida                           115  14. UNC                               109
 15. Georgia                         104.5  16. Southern California               102
 17. Wisconsin                         100  18. Northwestern                       73
 19. Arizona                          52.5  20. Penn                             44.5
 21. Minnesota                          43  22. Miami (Florida)                  41.5
 23. Virginia Tech                      37  24. Duke                               36
 25. Missouri                           34  26. Arizona St                         29
 27. Rutgers                            18  28. Arkansas                           15
 29. Yale                             14.5  30. Purdue                             14
 31. South Carolina                      9  32. Lsu                                 8
 33. Notre Dame                          6  34. Wyoming                             4
 34. UCLA                                4  36. Florida Int'l                       3
 37. San Diego St                        2  37. Harvard                             2
 39. Texas A&M                           1
Event 21  Women 400 Yard Freestyle Relay
==================================================================================
         NCAA: N 3:06.96  3/23/2019 California
                          I Ivey, K McLaughlin, A Bilquist, A Weitzeil
         Meet: M 3:06.96  3/23/2019 California
                          I Ivey, K McLaughlin, A Bilquist, A Weitzeil
     American: A 3:07.61  3/18/2017 Stanford
                          S Manuel, K Ledecky, J Hu, L Neal
      US Open: O 3:07.41  3/2/2019  California
                          R Nuemann, K McLaughlin, A Bilquist, A Weitzeil
         Pool: P 3:08.22  2/19/2022 Virginia
                          K Douglass, A Walsh, R Tiltmann, G Walsh
    School                                          Finals Points 
==================================================================================
  1 Virginia                                       3:06.91N  40  
     1) Douglass, Kate JR             2) r:0.43 Walsh, Alex SO        
     3) r:0.20 Tiltmann, Reilly FR    4) r:0.29 Walsh, Gretchen FR    
    r:+0.64  22.19        46.62 (46.62)
        1:08.74 (22.12)     1:33.11 (46.49)
        1:55.79 (22.68)     2:20.90 (47.79)
        2:42.70 (21.80)     3:06.91 (46.01)
  2 Stanford                                       3:08.97   34  
     1) Huske, Torri FR               2) r:0.25 Nordmann, Lillie FR   
     3) r:0.06 Smith, Regan FR        4) r:0.22 Ruck, Taylor JR       
    r:+0.59  22.31        46.82 (46.82)
        1:09.62 (22.80)     1:34.53 (47.71)
        1:57.23 (22.70)     2:22.27 (47.74)
        2:44.38 (22.11)     3:08.97 (46.70)
  3 Alabama                                        3:09.07   32  
     1) Petkova, Diana SO             2) r:0.29 Scott, Morgan SR      
     3) r:0.29 Antoniou, Kalia SR     4) r:0.24 Dupre, Cora JR        
    r:+0.68  23.00        48.35 (48.35)
        1:10.12 (21.77)     1:35.08 (46.73)
        1:57.71 (22.63)     2:22.57 (47.49)
        2:44.33 (21.76)     3:09.07 (46.50)
  4 NCSU                                           3:09.95   29  
     1) Berkoff, Katharine JR         2) r:0.29 Alons, Kylee SR       
     3) r:0.23 Crush, Annabel FR      4) r:0.28 Arens, Abby SO        
    r:+0.69  22.62        46.96 (46.96)
        1:09.55 (22.59)     1:34.49 (47.53)
        1:57.30 (22.81)     2:22.67 (48.18)
        2:45.11 (22.44)     3:09.95 (47.28)
  4 Michigan                                       3:09.95   29  
     1) Flynn, Lindsay FR             2) r:0.82 Newman, Claire SO     
     3) r:0.26 MacNeil, Maggie SR     4) r:0.16 Carter, Olivia SR     
    r:+0.66  22.74        47.50 (47.50)
        1:09.92 (22.42)     1:35.34 (47.84)
        1:57.51 (22.17)     2:22.14 (46.80)
        2:44.97 (22.83)     3:09.95 (47.81)
  6 Louisville                                     3:10.69   26  
     1) Albiero, Gabi SO              2) r:0.13 Regenauer, Chriiana JR
     3) r:0.35 Ulett, Tristen SO      4) r:0.32 Openysheva, Arina SR  
    r:+0.61  22.94        47.57 (47.57)
        1:10.05 (22.48)     1:35.14 (47.57)
        1:58.05 (22.91)     2:23.14 (48.00)
        2:45.57 (22.43)     3:10.69 (47.55)
  7 Florida                                        3:11.07   24  
     1) Nikonova, Ekaterina FR        2) r:0.13 Bates, Talia JR       
     3) r:0.19 Mack, Katie JR         4) r:0.21 Cronk, Micayla FR     
    r:+0.68  22.99        48.05 (48.05)
        1:10.62 (22.57)     1:35.71 (47.66)
        1:58.33 (22.62)     2:23.50 (47.79)
        2:46.14 (22.64)     3:11.07 (47.57)
  8 Ohio St                                        3:11.44   22  
     1) Zenick, Katherine SO          2) r:0.40 Fulmer, Amy JR        
     3) r:0.41 Crane, Emily SR        4) r:0.04 Ivan, Teresa FR       
    r:+0.61  22.82        47.77 (47.77)
        1:10.30 (22.53)     1:34.87 (47.10)
        1:57.70 (22.83)     2:23.36 (48.49)
        2:45.81 (22.45)     3:11.44 (48.08)