GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Virginia women’s swimming and diving team held its lead in the 2021 ACC Championships after three event wins on Thursday night at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Senior Paige Madden (Mobile, Ala.) started the night with a win in the 500-yard freestyle. Freshman Alexa Walsh (Nashville, Tenn.) followed that performance with her first career ACC title in the 200-yard individual medley. The Cavaliers closed the night with a comeback win in the 200-yard freestyle relay, setting a new UVA record in the event.
“A great night for our women again, starting with some great diving with Jenn Bell leading the way with a 10th place finish,” head coach Todd DeSorbo said. “Our divers are doing a great job and coach Drew Livingston has been great developing them throughout the year. Our women almost swept the top spot on the podium tonight in every race with Paige Madden starting with a repeat win in the 500. Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass going 1-2 in an epic battle in the 200 IM, these two are head and shoulders above the rest of the country with the top-two times in the NCAA. Lexi Cuomo almost pulled off the outside smoke, taking second in the 50 free from lane eight. Then the ladies won the third-straight relay with the third consecutive program record. Overall, it was a great night and I’m excited to watch the women continue to thrive tomorrow.”
UVA leads the way with 510 points, followed by NC State (486), Virginia Tech (376), Louisville (311.5) and Duke (290) in the top five.
The night started strong with Madden cruising to her second consecutive 500-yard freestyle ACC title. Madden clocked in with a time of 4:33.25, almost five seconds ahead of second place. Sophomore Maddie Donohoe (Annandale, Va.) placed fourth in a time of 4:44.33 and junior Julia Menkhaus (Charlotte, N.C.) was 15th in 4:47.56.
UVA took three of the top four spots in the 200-yard individual medley. Walsh won her first individual ACC Championship with a NCAA “A” time of 1:51.53, improving on her previous best time by three seconds. Sophomore Kate Douglass (Pelham, N.Y.) was second in 1:51.97 and sophomore Ella Nelson (Nashville, Tenn.) finished fourth in 1:55.32. Also scoring in the event, freshman Abby Harter (Broadlands, Va.) was eighth with a time of 1:57.05, freshman Anna Keating (Vienna, Va.) took 14th in 1:59.53 and freshman Sophia Wilson (Guildford, Surrey, England) was 24th in 2:02.83.
Rounding out the individual events, sophomore Lexi Cuomo (Clifton, Va.) podiumed with a second-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle in a time of 21.99. Senior Kyla Valls (Miami, Fla.) finished 12th with a time of 22.53, senior Caroline Gmelich (Rumson, N.J.) was 14th with a 22.66 and junior Alexis Wenger (Detroit, Mich.) was 18th (22.56).
In the 200-yard free relay, Douglass swam leadoff with an ACC meet record time of 21.50 in her 50-split. Cuomo and Valls swam the second and third legs after just competing in the 50-yard free. Walsh anchored the relay with a huge final turn to catch NC State and win in a UVA record time of 1:26.54.
Sophomore Jennifer Bell (Pelham, N.Y.) was the top finisher for the Cavaliers on the women’s 1-meter, placing 10th with a score of 271.45. Sophomore Charlotte Bowen (Dana Point, Calif.) was 17th with a 257.05 and senior Jocelyn Porter (Cornelius, N.C.) was 26th with a score of 238.40.
On the men’s side, senior Tristan Gess (Lakewood, Colo.) finished 29th on the 3-meter board with a score of 272.75.
Virginia continues the ACC Championships on Friday with prelims at 11 a.m., diving finals at 2 p.m. and swimming finals at 7 p.m. All sessions will be streamed on ACC Network Extra.