University of Virginia: CAV Swimmers Win Third Straight ACC Title, Eye NCAAS

Last March, University of Virginia President Jim Ryan ruined a perfectly good pair of shoes when he jumped, fully clothed, into the UVA Aquatic and Fitness Center pool in celebration of the Cavalier women’s swimming team’s first NCAA championship.

Could history repeat itself this spring?

It definitely seems possible after UVA took a big step toward that goal by winning the Atlantic Coast Conference championship in Atlanta on Saturday night.

Led by second-year student Alex Walsh, the UVA women’s team won 14 events and finished with 1,418 points. The ACC title was the program’s third consecutive and 18th overall.

The UVA women’s team set three American records in relays and four individual UVA and ACC records, while the Cavalier men’s team finished fourth.

“At this point I just get out of the way and let them do their thing,” Cavaliers head coach Todd DeSorbo said. “They push each other, build on each other and support each other. They are just a family. They race for each other, for the Hoos, their parents, the fans and their male counterparts.”

Walsh was named the ACC Women’s Most Valuable Swimmer with three individual ACC titles (in the 200-yard individual medley, the 200 freestyle and 200 breaststroke) and three relay championships. Walsh was a part of two of the American record-setting relays. The Cavaliers swept all five relays for the second consecutive year.

Meanwhile, Kate Douglass won three individual titles and Emma Weyant, Ella Nelson and Reilly Tiltmann also won individual championships.

Success on the big stage is nothing new for Walsh, Douglass and Weyant, who, as Hoos fans may recall, won Olympic medals in Tokyo last summer.

And, with the help of a world-renowned UVA math professor, they seem faster than ever this season.

Now, the Cavaliers set their sights on winning their second straight NCAA title. The NCAA women’s championships are scheduled for March 16 to 19 in Atlanta.

Ryan, who was fully clothed – and masked – when he jumped into the pool with UVA Director of Athletics Carla Williams last year, will no doubt be keeping a close eye on the proceedings.

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