Alex Walsh, Kate Douglass Continue Spectacular Year For Virginia With 200 IM

alex-walsh-
Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

While the past year has been extremely challenging on a global scale, it has been spectacular for Virginia swimmers, especially Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass.

Virginia became NCAA champions for the first time and Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass both were able to stand on the top of the podium. Now they are Olympians together — in the same race.

Walsh won the event in 2:09.30 to hold off Douglass by just two hundredths of a second (2:09.32).

“I trained with her my entire season at UVA so we have been really great training partners. She is way ahead of me in sets but she shows me every day what work ethic it takes to be a champion and an Olympic contender and I’ve tried to mimic her. I’m so proud to call her a teammate,” Walsh said. “I was so grateful to have Kate next to me — I couldn’t be more grateful to have her as my teammate because we get to do this together.

“Before semis last night, I was super nervous and I saw all the UVA girls posting about the lineup and I thought about these girls who worked so hard at NCAAs and started to think about doing it for them. That shows the bond we have been able to cultivate this year.”

That was really painful. That was the most painful 50 I’ve ever swam in my life — that’s what I get for taking it out so fast. I knew Kate and Madisyn Cox would be creeping up on me. I knew it would come down to the 15 meters and that’s what I trained for all year. I didn’t go as fast as I did in semis and I don’t even care at this point. This season’s work really showed off on that last 50.”

Douglass held off Cox in the final meters by two hundredths of a second (2:09.34) to join her college teammate, something very few swimmers get to do on the Olympic stage.

“Making the Olympics is one thing, but making it next to one of your best friends and your training partner, it’s just an amazing feeling and I can’t even describe it,” Douglass said. “I definitely saw that it was a race to the finish at the end there in the freestyle. My body was starting to give out, but once I hit the 15-meter mark, I just put my head down and tried to get into the wall as fast as I could.”

It was another heartbreaking finish for Cox.

Torri Huske was looking to prove she was more than a one-event star. She had the lead at the halfway point, but was overtaken in the back half of the race. She finished fourth in 2:10.38.

Meghan Small finished fifth in 2:11.65. Melanie Margalis was looking to shrug off a third-place finish in the 400 IM but finished sixth (2:11.77).

Beata Nelson, an NCAA champion at Wisconsin, took seventh in 2:11.96, followed by Emma Barksdale, who took eighth in 2:13.36.

Women’s 200 IM Top 8 Results:

  1. Alex Walsh, 2:09.30
  2. Kate Douglass, 2:09.32
  3. Madisyn Cox, 2:09.34
  4. Torri Huske, 2:10.38
  5. Meghan Small, 2:11.65
  6. Melanie Margalis, 2:11.77
  7. Beata Nelson, 2:11.96
  8. Emma Barksdale, 2:13.35