Olympics: Kate Douglass, Alex Walsh Go 1-3 in Women’s 200 IM Semifinals (Updated)

olympic-Jul 27, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Katie Douglass (USA) in the women's 200m individual medley semifinals during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports

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Olympics: Kate Douglass, Alex Walsh Go 1-3 in Women’s 200 IM Semifinals

The past year has been incredible for Virginia swimming, and there is still a chance at it finishing even better. After winning the NCAA championship for the first time in school history, the Cavaliers sent five swimmers (including incoming freshman Emma Weyant and post-grad Catie DeLoof) to Tokyo with a stellar performance at the Olympic trials.

Now, Kate Douglass and Alex Walsh are keeping their medal hopes alive — and took the first and third seeds, respectively, heading into finals.

In the semifinals of the 200 IM, Walsh made her move in the breaststroke leg of the race to finish first in the first semifinal heat in 2:09.57.

“This has felt good all week, so I wanted to take advantage of that,” Walsh said. “I think I executed that race pretty well for a semifinal.”

Jul 27, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Alex Walsh (USA) after the women's 200m individual medley semifinals during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Courtesy: Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports

Walsh held off Yu Yiting of China (2:09.72), Japan’s Yui Ohashi (2:09.79) and Canada’s Sydney Pickrem (2:09.96), who came back after withdrawing from the 400 IM for non-COVID-related medical reasons.

Pickrem described the illness as less than worrying, more a pulling back with three individual events on her plate.

“I feel OK,” Pickrem said. “It’s definitely just a step, just a semis and get to the final, try to be good, better, best. And hopefully I can show my best tomorrow and I know there’s a lot more to give. I’m excited to be in that final, it’s going to be a great race.”

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu took fifth in the first heat (2:01.22) and hung on to make the final after taking second in the prelims.

In the second semifinal, Kate Douglass had the early lead before losing it after the backstroke, but took it back after the breaststroke and held on to win the heat in 2:09.21.

Great Britain’s Abbie Wood was second in the heat in 2:09.56 ahead of compatriot Alicia Wilson, who finished in 2:10.59.

The separation between the finalists is just 1.3 seconds sets up an open race.

“There’s a second between the whole field tomorrow morning, which is going to be really exciting and close,” Wood said. “And I think it’s going to be anybody’s race, really, which is stressful but exciting at the same time. I feel like ISL allowed me to get a lot of race practice in and it really boosted my confidence, so I think it’s a big stepping stone to dealing with the Olympic Games.”

“I think this event has changed a lot over the past two years or so,” Walsh said. “I wouldn’t say it’s wide open. I think tomorrow’s going to be a pretty brutal battle for the medals, but I’m ready to take it on with Kate and I’m really excited to see what we can do.”

Women’s 200 individual medley

• World Record: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary, 2:06.12 (2015)
• Olympic record: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary, 2:06.58 (2016)

The Olympic Final

1. Kate Douglass, USA, 2:09.21
2. Abbie Wood, Great Britain, 2:09.56
3. Alex Walsh, USA, 2:09.57
4. Yu Yiting, China, 2:09.72
5. Yui Ohashi, Japan, 2:09.79
6. Sydney Pickrem, Canada, 2:09.94
7. Katinka Hosszu, Hungary, 2:10.22
8. Alicia Wilson, Great Britain, 2:10.59

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