Fan Friday: Plenty Of Swimming Hoos To Cheer On In Paris

The University of Virginia already knew it would have representation at the Paris Olympics this summer with swimming and diving coach Todd DeSorbo as the Team USA Women’s Olympic coach. Turns out, he’ll have plenty of company on the pool deck.

Of course, that’s not surprising. UVA’s program regularly has sent individuals to the compete with Team USA. This marks the fifth consecutive Olympic Games where the Virginia women’s swimming and diving program has an athlete in the field.

It’s especially unsurprising this year, though. The Cavaliers have dominated college swimming of late with four straight National Championships and some of the United States’ best swimmers have competed in the orange and blue during that time. At the U.S. Olympic Trials in Indianapolis, UVA placed a current, former, or incoming swimmer in every final except for the 1,500 meters.

In the end, Kate Douglass, Paige Madden, Gretchen Walsh, Alex Walsh, and Emma Weber all punched a ticket to Paris. With five athletes making the roster, this will be the most UVA representatives from swimming in a single Olympics. Those five Hoos will compete in 11 events with more possible in the relay races.

At the U.S. Olympic Trials, Douglass won three events. She touched the wall first in the 200 Breaststroke, the 100 Freestyle, and the 200 Individual Medley. She set a U.S. Open record in the 200 IM (2:06.79) and a Championship Meet record in the 200 Breaststroke (2:19.66). noted that Douglass has the opportunity to become a household name during the Olympics as she has the chance to medal in multiple events. She won a bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Also in Indy, Gretchen Walsh earned her first Olympic roster spot by qualifying in two events. She won the 100 Butterfly and finished 2nd in the 50 Freestyle. She did it in style too by setting a new World, U.S. Open, and Championship Meet in the 100 Butterfly (55.18) along the way.

Alex Walsh finished second in the 200 IM to make the team as well. She won the silver medal in that event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Madden also won a Tokyo silver medal in the 4×200 Freestyle Relay. She finished second in the 200 Freestyle, the 400 Freestyle, and the 800 Freestyle and qualified for Paris as well.

The biggest surprise of the quintet was Weber, who came home second in the 100 Breaststroke event. While she had earned All-American status in the short course pool in that event, Weber she placed 8th at the NCAA Championships in 2023 and third in the B-Final in 2024. Still, her training translated to the big pool and she earned a spot on the team with that swim.

Thomas Heilman, who has committed to Virginia as a recruit, also secured a spot with Team USA by winning the 200 Butterfly and finishing second in the 100 Butterfly. In the 100, he touched the wall in 50.80 seconds to break Michael Phelps’ 17-18 National Age Group record of 51.10 (2003).

The Paris Olympics take place from July 26-August 11. The swimming competition is set for July 27-Aug. 4 at the Aquatics Center in Paris.

Needless to say, all the swimming success had the message board buzzing during Trials. Join fellow Hoo fans to cheer on the Cavaliers in Paris later this summer.

Fan(s) Of Week

Cheering on the Hoos at Davenport Field.

Virginia Cavaliers

Student Fan(s) Of Week

Good times at John Paul Jones Arena.

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Feature Photo Of Week

Kate Douglass received recognition as the Honda Award winner for swimming and diving. Can she add another Olympic medal to her accolades?

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