The Week That Was: Virginia-Cal Dual Meet Highlights Week in College Swimming

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 26: Swimmers compete during the Prelims of the Division I Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships held at the Greensboro Aquatic Center on March 26, 2021 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Carlos Morales/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Cal's Hugo Gonzalez -- Photo Courtesy: Carlos Morales/NCAA Media

The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

This week, the defending NCAA champion Virginia Cavalier women traveled to the Bay Area to face the California Golden Bears, one of the most consistent teams in the country over the past two decades, and the Cal men, who have finished in the top two at the NCAA championships every year since 2010, also hosted the UVA men. There was a wealth of coaching talent on deck with Teri McKeeverDave Durden and Todd DeSorbo. Additionally, there was news involving Golden Goggles and the Commonwealth Games and a momentous accomplishment in the English Channel.

Read the five biggest stories of the week in The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The Week That Was #1: Cal-UVA and Other Significant Action in College Swimming

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Virginia’s Kate Douglass — Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Matthew De George

Two individual wins each by Alex Walsh and Gretchen Walsh led Virginia’s women’s swimming and diving team to a 141-121 win over the University of California Friday afternoon.

Cal’s men’s team beat Virginia, 168-94, in Berkley. Virginia entered as the No. 1 team in the first CSCAA women’s poll. The Cal men are ranked second.

The Walsh sisters got off to a quick starter, teaming with Alexis Wenger and Kate Douglass to win the medley relay in 1:34.65. Gretchen Walsh won the 100 back in 51.15 seconds and outkicked Isabel Ivey for the win in the 100 freestyle in 48.02. Alex Walsh was first in the 200 butterfly (1:55.07), then claimed the 200 backstroke in 1:53.47.

The Walshes joined with Douglass and Lexi Cuomo to win the 200 free relay in 1:27.82.

Douglass won the 50 free in 21.96 seconds and claimed the 100 fly in 51.51. Wenger won both breaststroke events. Emma Weyant and Madelyn Donohoe went 1-2 in the 1,000 free.

Ivey won the 200 free in a 1-2-3 Cal finish with Ayla Spitz and Robin Neumann to go with runner-up results in the 100 free and 100 fly. Spitz went on to outduel Weyant and Donahue in the 500 free in 4:46.83. Alicia Wilson won the 200 IM for Cal’s only other win.

On the men’s side, Trenton Julian and Destin Lasco flexed their versatility to lead the Bears.

Julian won the 200 free and 100 fly, the latter in a 1-2 with 100 back winner Hugo Gonzalez. Lasco won the 200 IM and 200 back and was second in the 100 back.

Will Roberts won the 1,000 free and was the runner-up to teammate Gabriel Jett in the 500 free. Robin Hanson was second in the 200 free and third in the 100 free, a spot behind 50 free winner Bjorn Seeliger. Reece Whitley won the 200 breast and finished second to Liam Bell in the 100 breast, and Dare Rose and Jason Louser went 1-2 in the 200 fly.

The Cavaliers used their sprint depth to win the bookending relays. Matt Brownstead (third in the 50 free, fourth in the 100) led off both, and Matt King brought them both home. King got Virginia’s only individual win in the 100 free, and he finished second to Seeliger in the 50 free.

Other dual meets of note:

#2: Chloe McCardel Crowned Queen Of The English Channel After World Record Breaking 44th Crossing From England To France

Chloe McCardle 44th crossing

QUEEN OF THE CHANNEL: Australia’s Chloe McCardel proudly flies the Aussie flag after her last hurrah with a successful record breaking 44th crossing of the English Channel — Photo Courtesy: Hugh Whitfield (7 News Australia/Twitter)

By Ian Hanson

Australia’s extraordinary marathon swimmer Chloe McCardel has today been crowned the official “Queen of the Channel” after her world record breaking 44th crossing of the English Channel from England to France.

After the 37-year-old set off from the English coast in the early hours, she took around 10 hours to swim the 34 kilometres and reached Pointe de la Courte Dune near Calais in France.

Her remarkable 44th crossing came just days after her record equalling 43rd swim to equal the record of Englishwoman Alison Streeter, in an amazing show of endurance and continued love affair with the Channel.

Australia now hails the “King” of the Channel, the legendary Maroubra lifesaver, the late Des Renford with his 19 crossings and now the “Queen” Chloe McCardel with her 44th.

Wrapped in an Australian flag, she said: “I’ve been waiting a long time to celebrate this swim.”

She later spoke to Australia’s ABC TV News Breakfast saying: “I’ve got a lot of adrenalin right now. I should be tired but I’m feeling great…my chest (infection) is fine…and I’m feeling fabulous.

“I had better than average conditions. There was a bit of lumpiness in the middle for about three or four hours but considering how bad the Channel usually is, it was close to a dream day and I enjoyed every minute of it.

“The whole thing just flew in time. I was just loving doing my final lap of my last hurrah.”

The Week That Was #3: Golden Goggle Award Nominees Announced by USA Swimming, led by Dressel, Ledecky, Jacoby, Finke

golden-goggle-caeleb dressel, olympics, Aug 1, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Caeleb Dressel (USA) celebrates after winning the men's 50m freestyle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Caeleb Dressel — Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

Following standout performances at the much-anticipated Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, USA Swimming will honor the top swimmers of Team USA at the 18th annual Golden Goggle Awards set for Tuesday, December 7 at the Faena Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida.

Olympic champions Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md./Stanford Swimming/Alto Swim Club), Caeleb Dressel (Green Cove Springs, Fla./Bolles School Sharks/Florida), Lydia Jacoby (Seward, Alaska/Seward Tsunami Swim Club) and Bobby Finke (Clearwater, Fla./Saint Petersburg Aquatics/University of Florida) lead the group of nominees with three individual nominations each following standout performances at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Golden Goggle Awards nominations are based on the year’s top accomplishments by U.S. swimmers, focusing primarily on the 2020 Olympic Games, where Americans topped the medal table in Tokyo with 30 total medals (11 gold, 10 silver and nine bronze.) The United States’ top swimmers and coaches are nominated in eight categories. The complete list of 2021 Golden Goggle Awards nominees by category is listed below. Full bios are included on the online ballot and fan voting is now open through 18. A percentage of the fan vote will count towards the final ballot.

This year’s event will allow swimming stars and attendees to mingle with celebrities, outstanding athletes, business leaders and entertainment icons on Miami Beach. The host of the event will be renowned NBC sports personality and commentator Mike Tirico, who led the network’s coverage of this summer’s Olympic Games.

On November 29, the Golden Goggles online silent auction will open with all proceeds benefiting the USA Swimming Foundation. Please visit www.usaswimming.org/foundation#golden-goggle-awards for more information.

#4: Sunwoo Hwang Smashes Korean Record in 200 Individual Medley; Teen Adds Depth to Arsenal

Jul 28, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Caeleb Dressel (USA) shakes hands with Sunwoo Hwang (KOR) after the men's 100m freestyle semifinals during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Sunwoo Hwang with Caeleb Dressel at the Tokyo Olympics — Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

By John Lohn

South Korean teenager Sunwoo Hwang, who threatened the podium in a pair of freestyle events at last summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, has demonstrated his talent extends to multiple strokes. According to the Yonhap News Agency, the 18-year-old set a national record in the 200-meter individual medley during Tuesday’s action at the National Sports Festival.

Hwang produced a time of 1:58.04 in the shorter medley, an effort that easily bettered the former Korean standard of 2:00.31, held by Tae-Hwan Park. Hwang destroyed his previous personal best, which stood at 2:00.77. At the Tokyo Games, it took 1:58.15 to qualify for the semifinals of the 200 medley, which was eventually won by China’s Wang Shun in 1:55.00.

While his performance in the medley is a positive development and the latest evidence of Hwang’s skill set, the teenager remains more of a global force in the 100 and 200 freestyle events. In Tokyo, he was fifth in the 100 free, with a best time of 47.56 in the semifinals, and finished seventh in the 200 freestyle. In the longer event, Hwang clocked 1:44.62 during the prelims.

Hwang is one of three male teenagers who have made significant noise on the international scene, joining Romania’s David Popovici and South Africa’s Matthew Sates.

The Week That Was #5: University of Texas Record Holder Grace Ariola Medically Retires

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Grace Ariola at the 2017 FINA World Junior Championships — Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Matthew De George

University of Texas sprinter Grace Ariola announced she is retiring from swimming for medical reasons.

Ariola made the announcement on Instagram Wednesday. The Longhorns senior said in the post that it stems from a viral infection during her freshman year that has led to chronic fatigue syndrome, robbing her of the energy that made her one of the top American youth sprinters of her age group.

Ariola called the end of her swimming struggle, “an act of love” on two occasions in her post.

Finally has come peace, and finally comes the end of a career colored by incredible highs and random injuries and illnesses and events. I used to think I was unlucky for the random things that happened, but now I’ve realized the opposite is true, how lucky I was to have done what I’ve done and to have met the people I know and love. That is lucky. There is nothing unlucky about the people I met and the places I went.

Ariola thanked Texas coaches Carol Capitani and Mitch Dalton for giving her the chance to keep trying to round back into form. Though Ariola didn’t swim last year, she remained on the Longhorns roster to start this season. The swimmers who commented on her farewell post – among them Olympians like Paige Madden, Regan Smith and Erica Sullivan – indicate the esteem in which she is held by fellow swimmers.

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