NCAA Women’s Championships: Virginia Cruises To Victory in 400 Medley Relay; Closing In On Relay Sweep

virginia-400 medley-relay
Virginia's Alex Walsh, Gretchen Walsh & Kate Douglass -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

NCAA Women’s Championships: Virginia Cruises To Victory in 400 Medley Relay; Closing In On Relay Sweep

The outcome of the 400-yard medley relay at the NCAA Women’s Championships was hardly in doubt with the University of Virginia headlining the field. The question was the Cavaliers’ margin of victory.

Behind the quartet of Gretchen Walsh, Alex Walsh, Kate Douglass and Aimee Canny, Virginia registered a winning time of 3:22.39. That performance was two seconds faster than the 3:24.66 of runnerup North Carolina State and nearly three seconds clear of third-place Texas, which clocked in at 3:25.18.

With its fourth relay triumph of the meet, Virginia upped its point total to 374.5, a commanding 102 more than second-place Texas. Barring a disastrous final day, the Cavs will secure their third consecutive championship on Saturday night. More, a victory in the closing 400 freestyle relay would hand the program a sweep of the relay events.

“I think for us, the relay sweep is a huge accomplishment for us,” Alex Walsh said. “I was talking to Maddie Donahoe yesterday, and she said the last time a team has put together this multi-year performance was the legendary Stanford team when they had [Katie] Ledecky, Lia Neal, Simone [Manuel] and Ella Eastin. Thinking that we are kind of on the same level as that is pretty shocking because I think we’ve all looked up to those people throughout our whole middle school and high school careers. It’s pretty awesome to think about that accomplishment in the context of history.

Gretchen Walsh jumpstarted the Cavs with a backstroke leadoff of 49.39 and her older sister, Alex, extended Virginia’s advantage on the breaststroke leg, as she turned in a split of 56.79. Douglass then went to work on the butterfly leg, splitting 48.94 to give Canny plenty of cushion on the freestyle anchor. Canny, a freshman, brought the Cavaliers home in 47.27.

“I was thinking about it before the relay. It’s like, ‘We hold two of the NCAA records out of the 100s on this relay.’ That was a cool thing for me to realize,” Gretchen Walsh said. “It doesn’t matter that we didn’t exactly go those times on the relay, but it’s still cool to say.”

Before overwhelming the field in the 400 medley relay, Virginia shined in the individual events. The session opened with Alex Walsh and Ella Nelson going one-two in the 400 individual medley. Next up was an American record from Douglass in the 100 butterfly, where she fended off LSU’s Maggie Mac Neil in a historic battle. Finally, Gretchen Walsh obliterated the American record in the 100 backstroke.

Those results have allowed Virginia to build a 374.5-point lead in the team race, 102 ahead of second-place Texas. For some comparison to last year’s title-winning effort, Virginia was up 110.5 points after Friday, and just like last year, the Cavaliers are expected to further their advantage Saturday. Texas has 272.5 points for second, followed by Stanford at 239. Louisville (191.5) and NC State (190) round out the top five.

 Event 14  Women 400 Yard Medley Relay
==================================================================================
         NCAA: N 3:21.80  2/17/2023 Virginia
                          G Walsh, A Walsh, K Douglass, A Canny
         Meet: M 3:22.34  3/18/2022 Virginia
                          G Walsh, A Wenger, A Walsh, K Douglass
     American: A 3:22.34  2/18/2022 Virginia - Also 3/18/22
                          G Walsh, A Wenger, A Walsh, K Douglass
      US Open: O 3:22.34  2/18/2022 Virginia - Also 3/18/22
                          G Walsh, A Wenger, A Walsh, K Douglass
         Pool: P 3:26.64  2/18/2022 Alabama
                          R White, A Wiseman, M Scott, C Dupre
    School                                 Seed     Finals Points 
==================================================================================
  1 Virginia                            3:21.80    3:22.39P  40  
     1) Walsh, Gretchen SO            2) r:0.17 Walsh, Alex JR        
     3) r:0.25 Douglass, Kate SR      4) r:0.32 Canny, Aimee FR       
    r:+0.68  23.62        49.39 (49.39)
        1:15.69 (26.30)     1:46.18 (56.79)
        2:08.80 (22.62)     2:35.12 (48.94)
        2:57.63 (22.51)     3:22.39 (47.27)
  2 NC State                            3:26.28    3:24.66P  34  
     1) Berkoff, Katharine SR         2) r:0.11 MacCausland, Hether SR
     3) r:0.19 Alons, Kylee 5Y        4) r:0.11 Arens, Abby JR        
    r:+0.61  24.72        50.10 (50.10)
        1:16.55 (26.45)     1:47.49 (57.39)
        2:10.30 (22.81)     2:37.45 (49.96)
        2:59.88 (22.43)     3:24.66 (47.21)
  3 Texas                               3:25.29    3:25.18P  32  
     1) Bray, Olivia JR               2) r:0.24 Jacoby, Lydia FR      
     3) r:0.20 Sticklen, Emma JR      4) r:0.09 Pash, Kelly SR        
    r:+0.71  24.50        50.89 (50.89)
        1:17.24 (26.35)     1:47.67 (56.78)
        2:10.56 (22.89)     2:37.86 (50.19)
        3:00.19 (22.33)     3:25.18 (47.32)
  4 Stanford                            3:25.79    3:26.10P  30  
     1) Curzan, Claire FR             2) r:0.26 Raab, Allie 5Y        
     3) r:0.02 Huske, Torri SO        4) r:0.21 Ruck, Taylor SR       
    r:+0.64  24.54        50.81 (50.81)
        1:18.31 (27.50)     1:50.01 (59.20)
        2:12.33 (22.32)     2:39.60 (49.59)
        3:01.65 (22.05)     3:26.10 (46.50)
  5 Tennessee                           3:28.78    3:27.92   28  
     1) Fuller, Josephine SO          2) r:0.20 McSharry, Mona JR     
     3) r:0.08 Stotler, Sara SO       4) r:0.23 Douthwright, Brklyn SO
    r:+0.72  25.19        51.94 (51.94)
        1:18.36 (26.42)     1:49.12 (57.18)
        2:12.34 (23.22)     2:40.30 (51.18)
        3:03.20 (22.90)     3:27.92 (47.62)
  6 Ohio St                             3:26.68    3:28.18   26  
     1) Funderburke, Nyah SO          2) r:0.39 Panitz, Josie SR      
     3) r:0.16 Zenick, Katherine JR   4) r:0.01 Fulmer, Amy SR        
    r:+0.72  25.29        52.79 (52.79)
        1:19.70 (26.91)     1:50.85 (58.06)
        2:14.03 (23.18)     2:41.43 (50.58)
        3:03.77 (22.34)     3:28.18 (46.75)
  7 Florida                             3:29.98    3:28.36   24  
     1) Runnels, Aris SO              2) r:0.21 Kucheran, Nina 5Y     
     3) r:0.36 Peoples, Olivia SO     4) r:0.12 Cronk, Micayla SO     
    r:+0.91  25.02        51.97 (51.97)
        1:18.87 (26.90)     1:49.44 (57.47)
        2:13.37 (23.93)     2:41.27 (51.83)
        3:03.51 (22.24)     3:28.36 (47.09)
  8 Louisville                          3:30.29    3:28.58   22  
     1) Hay, Abby SR                  2) r:0.14 Viberg, Cecilia FR    
     3) r:0.08 Albiero, Gabi JR       4) r:0.29 Regenauer, Chriiana SR
    r:+0.70  25.25        52.15 (52.15)
        1:19.09 (26.94)     1:51.44 (59.29)
        2:14.38 (22.94)     2:41.30 (49.86)
        3:03.56 (22.26)     3:28.58 (47.28)
  9 UNC                                 3:30.84    3:29.03   18  
     1) Lindner, Sophie 5Y            2) r:0.06 Smith, Skyler SO      
     3) r:0.03 VanNote, Ellie SR      4) r:0.08 Countie, Grace SR     
    r:+0.71  25.07        52.00 (52.00)
        1:18.81 (26.81)     1:50.72 (58.72)
        2:14.27 (23.55)     2:41.56 (50.84)
        3:03.78 (22.22)     3:29.03 (47.47)
 10 USC                                 3:30.00    3:29.56   14  
     1) Bernal, Aria 5Y               2) r:0.07 Dobler, Kaitlyn JR    
     3) r:0.22 Delgado, Anicka JR     4) r:0.19 Henderson, Hanna JR   
    r:+0.79  25.03        52.64 (52.64)
        1:19.03 (26.39)     1:49.86 (57.22)
        2:13.67 (23.81)     2:41.82 (51.96)
        3:04.21 (22.39)     3:29.56 (47.74)
 11 California                          3:30.64    3:29.96   12  
     1) Stadden, Isabelle JR          2) r:0.20 Neser, Jade JR        
     3) r:0.08 Kragh, Mia SO          4) r:0.21 Davidson, Emma SR     
    r:+0.73  24.59        51.04 (51.04)
        1:18.11 (27.07)     1:50.61 (59.57)
        2:13.97 (23.36)     2:41.80 (51.19)
        3:04.78 (22.98)     3:29.96 (48.16)
 12 Michigan                            3:31.07    3:30.52   10  
     1) Kaufmann, Noelle JR           2) r:0.14 Sim, Letitia SO       
     3) r:0.05 Kendall, Brady FR      4) r:0.28 Flynn, Lindsay SO     
    r:+0.63  24.98        52.17 (52.17)
        1:19.23 (27.06)     1:50.77 (58.60)
        2:14.55 (23.78)     2:43.05 (52.28)
        3:05.61 (22.56)     3:30.52 (47.47)
 13 Alabama                             3:28.46    3:30.74    8  
     1) White, Rhyan 5Y               2) r:0.09 Wiseman, Avery SO     
     3) r:-0.01 Jones, Emily FR       4) r:0.14 Antoniou, Kalia 5Y    
    r:+0.68  24.93        52.00 (52.00)
        1:19.30 (27.30)     1:51.43 (59.43)
        2:14.71 (23.28)     2:43.32 (51.89)
        3:05.42 (22.10)     3:30.74 (47.42)
 14 Auburn                              3:30.21    3:31.34    6  
     1) Waldrep, Ellie SO             2) r:+0.00 Makarova, Stasya SO  
     3) r:0.20 Lee, Meghan JR         4) r:0.02 Nevmovenko, Polina SO 
    r:+0.69  24.93        52.13 (52.13)
        1:19.78 (27.65)     1:52.01 (59.88)
        2:15.79 (23.78)     2:43.25 (51.24)
        3:05.59 (22.34)     3:31.34 (48.09)
 15 Northwestern                        3:32.38    3:32.20    4  
     1) Murdock, Justine SO           2) r:0.31 Brunzell, Hannah SR   
     3) r:0.17 Guevara, Miriam 5Y     4) r:0.30 Strouse, Ashley SO    
    r:+0.69  25.81        52.91 (52.91)
        1:20.43 (27.52)     1:52.53 (59.62)
        2:15.86 (23.33)     2:43.68 (51.15)
        3:06.96 (23.28)     3:32.20 (48.52)
 16 Georgia                             3:31.01    3:32.29    1  
     1) McCarty, Eboni SO             2) r:+0.00 Hartman, Zoie SR     
     3) r:0.25 Dickinson, Callie 5Y   4) r:0.37 Reinstein, Sloane JR  
    r:+0.75  25.25        51.93 (51.93)
        1:19.30 (27.37)     1:50.93 (59.00)
        2:15.25 (24.32)     2:43.04 (52.11)
        3:06.27 (23.23)     3:32.29 (49.25)
 16 TAMU                                3:31.26    3:32.29    1  
     1) Buechler, Jordan JR           2) r:0.34 Kennett, Bobbi JR     
     3) r:0.10 Theall, Olivia JR      4) r:0.19 Stepanek, Chloe JR    
    r:+0.87  25.78        53.28 (53.28)
        1:21.14 (27.86)     1:52.45 (59.17)
        2:16.02 (23.57)     2:44.69 (52.24)
        3:07.18 (22.49)     3:32.29 (47.60)
 18 Wisconsin                           3:31.75    3:32.35  
     1) Bacon, Phoebe JR              2) r:0.27 Ozkan, Hazal FR       
     3) r:0.10 Jump, Mallory SR       4) r:0.26 Carlson, Abby SO      
    r:+0.73  25.02        51.42 (51.42)
        1:19.32 (27.90)   1:52.00 (1:00.58)
        2:15.60 (23.60)     2:43.95 (51.95)
        3:07.05 (23.10)     3:32.35 (48.40)
 19 Duke                                3:31.35    3:32.47  
     1) Shuppert, Emma SR             2) r:-0.03 Gridley, Kaelyn FR   
     3) r:0.21 Ozkan, Aleyna JR       4) r:-0.02 Snyder, Sarah SR     
    r:+0.71  25.53        53.39 (53.39)
        1:20.46 (27.07)     1:51.90 (58.51)
        2:15.95 (24.05)     2:44.04 (52.14)
        3:06.78 (22.74)     3:32.47 (48.43)
 20 Missouri                            3:32.90    3:32.88  
     1) Rees, Meredith SR             2) r:0.12 Brathwaite, Katrina SR
     3) r:0.16 Williams, Taylor SO    4) r:0.05 Gowans, Molly 5Y      
    r:+0.68  25.10        52.08 (52.08)
        1:19.98 (27.90)     1:52.03 (59.95)
        2:15.89 (23.86)     2:44.38 (52.35)
        3:07.65 (23.27)     3:32.88 (48.50)
 21 UCLA                                3:32.10    3:33.37  
     1) Kosturos, Sophia SR           2) r:0.12 Carlson, Eva SO       
     3) r:0.10 Dang, Gabby SR         4) r:0.06 Grover, Claire 5Y     
    r:+0.64  25.51        53.53 (53.53)
        1:20.98 (27.45)     1:53.13 (59.60)
        2:17.23 (24.10)     2:45.14 (52.01)
        3:07.69 (22.55)     3:33.37 (48.23)
 -- Kentucky                            3:31.74         DQ  
     1) Brooks, Caitlin SR            2) r:-0.04 Phelan, Denise FR    
     3) r:0.17 Gati, Izzy 5Y          4) r:0.21 Wheeler, Kaitlynn SR  
    r:+0.94  25.13        52.11 (52.11)
        1:18.69 (26.58)     1:49.91 (57.80)
        2:13.84 (23.93)     2:42.27 (52.36)
        3:05.19 (22.92)          DQ (48.38)
 -- Indiana                             3:29.82         DQ  
     1) Peplowski, Anna SO            2) r:0.26 Peplowski, Noelle 5Y  
     3) r:0.13 Broshears, Elizbeth JR 4) r:-0.06 Paegle, Kristina FR  
    r:+0.73  25.17        51.99 (51.99)
        1:19.59 (27.60)     1:50.96 (58.97)
        2:14.81 (23.85)     2:43.54 (52.58)
        3:05.80 (22.26)          DQ (47.51)
 -- Arkansas                            3:31.74         DQ  
     1) Melton, Kobie 5Y              2) r:0.18 Herrmann, Vanessa 5Y  
     3) r:0.12 Sansores De La drea 5Y 4) r:-0.09 Cothern, Bella JR    
    r:+0.69  25.19        52.46 (52.46)
        1:20.27 (27.81)     1:51.73 (59.27)
        2:15.97 (24.24)     2:44.05 (52.32)
        3:06.68 (22.63)          DQ (48.70)
 
                     Women - Team Rankings - Through Event 14                     
 
  1. Virginia                        374.5   2. Texas                           272.5
  3. Stanford                          239   4. Louisville                      191.5
  5. NC State                          190   6. Ohio St                           170
  7. Florida                           146   8. Tennessee                         135
  9. UNC                               125  10. Indiana                           121
 11. California                        105  12. Southern California                86
 13. Lsu                                79  14. Alabama                            75
 15. Georgia                          70.5  16. Wisconsin                          67
 17. Kentucky                           42  18. Minnesota                          37
 19. Miami (Fl)                         36  20. Arizona                            32
 21. Michigan                           29  22. South Carolina                     25
 22. Virginia Tech                      25  24. Texas A&M                          22
 25. Duke                               20  26. Auburn                             13
 26. Northwestern                       13  28. Arkansas                           12
 29. Miami (Ohio)                        9  30. Florida St                          7
 30. Purdue                              7  32. UCLA                                6
 33. Arizona St                          4  34. Utah                                2
 35. Florida Int'l                       1  35. Akron                               1
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Curious
Curious
11 months ago

Why isn’t the US Open record the same as the NCAA record? The latter occurred in a US pool.

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