Douglass, Walsh rack up wins at Fina World Championships

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Kate Douglass (left) and Alex Walsh (Photos: UVA Athletics)

Senior Kate Douglass and junior Alex Walsh both won gold with Team USA’s 4×50-meter mixed medley relay at the 2022 Fina World Championships (25m) in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Douglass swam the butterfly leg during prelims and finals, setting a world record of 1:35.15 with the relay team to win gold in finals. Douglass swam a split of 24.09, marking one of the fastest 50-meter butterfly splits in history and sits just behind the fastest ever from Sarah Sjostrom (23.96) set in 2021.

It is the first time a Virginia women’s swimmer has been part of a World Record and only the second time in program history. Ed Moses set a short course world record in the 100-meter breaststroke in 2002.

It is the second gold medal of the short course worlds for Douglass. Walsh picked up her first gold medal of the 2022 Worlds with her swim on the anchor leg of the 4×50-meter mixed medley relay in prelims that put Team USA as the top qualifier for finals. Walsh added a bronze medal and an American Record to her resume, swimming the leadoff leg of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

On Monday, Douglass and Walsh became the first two American women to swim under 2:04.00 in the 200-meter individual medley to win gold and silver, respectively. The Cavalier duo became the second and third fastest swimmers in the event in history with their swims and added to their World Championship medal collections.

Douglass won her first individual gold medal with an American record time of 2:02.12 in the 200m IM. It was the second-fastest time ever in short course swimming for the event, just behind the world record (2:01.86) set by Katinka Hosszu (Hungary) in 2014. It is her third short course worlds gold medal, as she won two relay golds in 2021.

Douglass added a silver medal in the first night, swimming the fastest leg of the American record setting 4x100m freestyle relay. The Pelham, N.Y., native swam the second leg of the relay that finished in 3:26.29, just .86 behind the world record swim by Australia in 3:25.43.

Walsh won silver in the 200m IM finishing in a time of 2:03.37 to become the third-fastest swimmer in the event. It was the first short course worlds appearance for Walsh, who won gold in the 200 IM at the World Championships in June (2022).

UVA alum Leah Smith added a bronze medal in the 400-meter freestyle, finishing with a time of 4:01.13.