The must be something in the water in Charlottesville, Virginia. After winning the ACC title, the UVA Women’s Swim and Dive team swept the competition on the national stage in Greensboro, North Carolina. Final scores placed the Wahoos on top with 491 points, NC State placing second, with 354 points and Texas placing third with 344.5 points. The Cavaliers won in a similar fashion to the ACC’s, starting off on top and never looking back, becoming the first ACC team to win the national title.
The meet got off to a fast start on Thursday night, with the Cavaliers winning their first NCAA relay title in the 800 yard freestyle relay with the team of Kyla Valls, Paige Madden, Ella Nelson, and Alex Walsh. In her final meet as a Wahoo, fourth year Paige Madden put on a masterclass in distance freestyle, winning the 500 free, the 200 free, and the 1650 free and scoring 60 points for the team.
On the second night of competition, the Wahoos crushed another UVA record in the 400 yard medley relay of Reilly Tiltmann, Alexis Wenger, Lexi Cuomo, and Kate Douglass. Second year Kate Douglass claimed the NCAA title after striking gold in the 50 free, while first year Alex Walsh picked up her first NCAA title in the 200 Individual Medley. At the point in competition, the Hoos held a commanding lead of 60 points over NC State.
On the third day of competition, the Cavaliers left the competition in the dust, ending the night a whole 103 points ahead of NC State thanks to Madden’s win the 200 free. Second year Ella Nelson broke her own UVA record in the 400 Individual Medley, picking up a silver medal in the process. Kate Douglass also won silver in the 100 fly, improving her own UVA record. Third year Alex Wenger also fought her way to the podium, finishing third in the 100 breaststroke.
On the final night of competition, the Wahoos put a swimmer in the “A” final of every event, meaning that each event had a scoring wahoo. On this night, Paige Madden won her final event, the 1650, and Kate Douglass placed second in the 100 free and breaking a UVA record at the same time. Ella Nelson also scored silver in 200 breaststroke. When Coach Todd DeSorbo arrived at UVA, he vocalized his goal for the program to be national champions, and was ecstatic upon their victory, calling their win “a team effort.”
As the ACC performance suggested, the younger generation of Wahoos are the future of the program, including second year Kate Douglass, who scored 54 points and second year Ella Nelson, who scored 48 points, and first year Alex Walsh, who also scored 48 points. Based on analysis from SwimSwam News, the Cavaliers vastly outperformed their seeding, scoring 16.5 points more than projected with swimmers up and down the roster stepping up and scoring points.
The success of this team is a shining example of perseverance and teamwork during incredibly difficult times, bringing UVA it’s 28th National title. The men’s Swim and Dive team will look to make a splash this weekend, March 24-27th, coverage on ESPN3 Wednesday to Saturday.