Virginia swim and dive will host Georgetown in its season opener Saturday. The Cavaliers are coming off an incredible season, with the women’s swim and dive team winning an ACC Championship in February and an NCAA Championship in March. The men’s team enters the fall after a fourth-place finish at the ACC Championship and ninth-place result in the NCAA Championship, which is tied for their second best finish in program history.
Virginia women’s swimming returns multiple Olympic medalists and NCAA individual champions. Sophomore Alex Walsh returns from the Tokyo Olympics after winning silver in the 200-meter individual medley. Collegiately, Walsh was a national champion in the 200-meter individual medley and 800-meter freestyle relay.
In addition, junior Kate Douglass returns after winning bronze in the 200-meter individual medley at the Olympics and as a national champion in the 50-meter freestyle.
Furthermore, Douglass received All-American honors in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard fly, 200-yard freestyle relay, 400-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard medley relay. As for Walsh, she received All-American honors in the 200-yard individual medley, 200-yard breast, 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle relay, 400-yard freestyle relay and 800-yard freestyle relay.
The women’s team also returns seven additional All-Americans — junior Lexi Cuomo, junior Maddie Donohue, sophomore Abby Harter, senior Jessica Nava, freshman Reilly Tiltmann and senior Alexis Wenger.
Freshman Emma Weyant joins the team after winning silver in the 400-meter individual medley during the Tokyo Olympics.
Additionally, Coach Todd DeSorbo had the opportunity to coach Douglass, Walsh and Weyant in Tokyo this past summer as an assistant coach for Team USA.
For the men, freshman Jack Aikins joins the team after placing seventh in the 200-meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in mid-June.
Moreover, the men's team returns sophomore Matt Brownstead, who was an ACC Champion in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle. Brownstead was also an All-American in the 50-yard, 100-yard , 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle. In addition, he was an All-American in the 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard medley relay.
All-Americans sophomore William Cole, junior Max Edwards, senior Justin Grender, junior August Lamb, sophomore Noah Nichols, senior Casey Storch and junior Jack Wright return to the team as well.
Virginia is returning plenty of strong swimmers who look to continue their dominance from last season. Despite losing Olympic silver medalist Paige Madden — who graduated in May 2021 — a strong freshman class led by Weyant should give the Cavaliers an excellent chance at winning another national championship.
Looking at Virginia's opponent, Georgetown did not participate in the 2020-2021 season but produced strong results at the 2020 Big East Championships, where the men’s and women’s squads both placed second.
The Hoyas’ women's team is led by senior captains Grace Chen, Lily Clisham and Gabriella Meringolo. At the 2020 Big East Championships, Chen placed first in the 100-yard backstroke, while Clisham placed 11th in the 500-yard free, and Meringolo reached the finals for both the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly. Junior Corey Moon should make an impact after placing second in the 1650-yard freestyle at the 2020 Big East Championships.
The Georgetown men’s team is led by graduate student Drew Carbone, who placed first in the 100-yard backstroke, 200-yard backstroke and 200-yard individual medley during the 2020 Big East Championships. In addition, Carbone qualified for the Olympic trials for the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke.
Senior captains Brett Sherman and Sean Devlin will look to build on their sophomore seasons. Sherman placed first in the 500-yard freestyle at the Big East Championships back in February 2020. Additionally, Devlin, who is an eight-time All-Big East selection, placed first in the 100-yard freestyle at the 2020 Big East Championships.
On Sep. 24, the Hoyas competed in the Potomac Relays — their first meet since the 2020 Big East Championships — competing against Howard, American and George Mason. The men’s team placed first in swimming, the women placed second to George Mason and the dive team placed first overall. So, while Georgetown did not swim last year, the Cavaliers should not overlook this team’s potential.
As for the Cavalier women, who look to defend their national title, they are more than capable of doing so — especially with Weyant, Walsh and Douglass leading the team. For the men, expect a strong start with lots of returning swimmers who look to get on the right track to start the season.
The meet is set to start 11 a.m. Saturday at the Aquatic and Fitness Center in Charlottesville.