Wahoowa! UVA Wins First-Ever NCAA Swimming Relay Title

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Hard work paid off for the University of Virginia women’s swimming and diving team on Wednesday – in a big way.

At the 2021 NCAA Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, UVA won the 800-yard freestyle relay by a whopping five seconds.

The victory marked the first NCAA Championship win in a relay in program history, and it was a great start to what could be a championship weekend as other races continue through Saturday.

Kyla Valls (Miami.) led off the relay, followed by Paige Madden (Mobile, Alabama) and Ella Nelson (Nashville). Alex Walsh (Nashville) swam the anchor leg and brought home the title. 

“I’m just thrilled and proud for our women,” head coach Todd DeSorbo said. “This meet has been a year in the making and our women have taken full advantage of that. I’m grateful for their commitment to excellence. Their perseverance shines bright tonight with a great start to the competition. To win UVA’s first-ever national title in a relay is special. I know these four women, as well as our entire team, will savor that moment. Looking forward to more excellence the rest of the week.”

The Cavaliers finished five seconds ahead of the field with a time of 6 minutes, 52.56 seconds to earn 40 points and the overall team lead after the first event. UVA is among the pre-meet favorites to capture the national title, which would be the University’s first in swimming and diving.

The championships continued Thursday with preliminary heats for the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley, 50-yard freestyle and one-meter diving beginning at 10 a.m. Finals are set for 6 p.m. Both sessions will be streamed live on ESPN3.

Media Contact

Whitelaw Reid

University News Senior Associate Office of University Communications