Alex Walsh helps Virginia keep pace for 2nd straight title

ATLANTA (AP) — Virginia sophomore Alex Walsh and junior Kate Douglass each won an individual title on Friday to help the Cavaliers build on their commanding lead at the NCAA swimming and diving championships.

Virginia, going for its second straight national title, has 386.5 points — 110.5 ahead of second-place Stanford. Texas is third with 257.

Walsh cruised to the win in the 400-yard medley with a personal best time of 3:57.25 as Virginia picked up 54 points in the event with junior Ella Nelson third and freshman Emma Weyant fourth. It was Walsh’s second individual title of the meet.

Douglass followed with a win in the 100-yard butterfly to set an American record at 49.04.

The Virginia relay group of Gretchen Walsh, Alexis Wenger, Alex Walsh and Douglass capped the Friday events by winning the 400-yard medley relay in 3:22.34 to tie their own NCAA record set at the ACC championships.

Stanford’s Taylor Ruck won her first individual national title, leading wire-to-wire in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:41.12. Top-seed Lia Thomas, of Penn, tied for fifth.

Southern Cal’s Kaitlyn Dobler edged Wenger by just .04 seconds to claim the 100-yard breaststroke title after finishing second in the event last year.

North Carolina State’s Katharine Berkoff successfully defended her title in 100-yard backstroke with an American record of 48.74. Walsh swam under the previous American record to finish second in 49.00.

Defending champion Sarah Bacon of Minnesota won her fifth career NCAA championship in 3-meter diving.

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