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No. 1 women’s swimming brings historic performance to highly competitive dual meet against Texas

Both Virginia swimming and diving teams fought hard against Texas this weekend, but only the women’s swim team emerged victorious

<p>The women's team is recovering nicely after winning the National Championship last year.</p>

The women's team is recovering nicely after winning the National Championship last year.

The Virginia men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams faced off against Texas on Friday and Saturday in a high-ranked matchup at the Aquatic and Fitness Center in Charlottesville. Coming into the meet, the Longhorns’ men's team was ranked No. 1, and the women’s team No. 5. Virginia women improved to 3-0 on the season and moved up to the No. 1 spot on the NCAA rankings with a 201-152 win, while the men’s team fought hard but came up short in a 122-223 loss. 

The Virginia women’s team is already setting the stage for a historic season, breaking nine pool records over the weekend. Freshman Gretchen Walsh, senior Alexis Wenger, junior Kate Douglass and sophomore Alex Walsh won the 400-yard medley relay in a pool record time of 3:29.0. Junior Ella Nelson won two events on Saturday, winning the 200-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard individual medley with a record time of 1:57.33. Gretchen Walsh also recorded pool records in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 48.00 and the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 51.12. Freshman Emma Weyant set a new pool record in the 400-yard individual medley, the same event for which she won silver in the 2020 Olympics. 

“The women showed their dominance today over a very, very good Texas team,” Coach Todd DeSorbo said. “They are one of the best in the country and our women were excited to have them here and excited to race them. A lot of pool records went down. It takes a great team like Texas to come in and push you to break records like that.”

Douglass, Gretchen, Alex Walsh and junior Lexi Cuomo set a pool record for the 200-yard freestyle relay, with a time of 1:28.11. The 200-yard medley relay group of Gretchen and Alex Walsh, Wenger and Douglass, respectively, combined for a pool record time of 1:34.25 to take the win. The women’s swimming team overall picked up 15 first-place finishes in the win, winning all eight events on the second day.

Despite not winning any events, the men’s team put up a real fight and didn’t let Texas have any easy wins. Virginia came in a close second in many events, including junior Sean Conway, who finished the 200-yard individual medley only .14 seconds after Jake Foster for the Longhorns.

“Really happy with how the men fought,” DeSorbo said. “I think the score is not indicative of how the meet went. Pretty much every race today came down to the wire and our guys made Texas perform at a really high level in order to beat us. I really can’t recall a race today that wasn’t close for the win.”

The meet began on Friday with diving, as Texas swept the women’s 1-meter and 3-meter boards. Freshman Lizzy Kaye was the top finisher for the Cavaliers on both events, posting a 284.48 on the 3-meter and a 265.28 on the 1-meter. The Longhorns took the men’s diving events as well, with Jordan Windle winning both. Senior Walker Creedon finished fifth on the 3-meter to lead Virginia with a 345.90 and freshman Nicholas Sanders was the top finisher on the 1-meter with a 301.05.

Virginia will have next weekend off and travel to Knoxville, Tenn., for the Tennessee Invite from Nov. 18 through Nov. 20.