CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — It’s been a year to remember for the Virginia women’s swimming and diving team. The Cavaliers won their first-ever NCAA team title in the spring and then four of the swimmers went to Tokyo and brought home medals. “I cried. I cried a lot. Let’s put it that way,” said Virginia swim coach Todd DeSorbo. Todd DeSorbo had at least four reasons to shed tears this summer. The Virginia head coach and assistant for Team USA, got to witness four of his swimmers make the podium at the Tokyo Olympics. “To land where they did and all come home with medals is just kinda icing on the cake. I couldn’t be happier. It was for me as a coach the best experience of my career,” said DeSorbo.
The oldest of the quartet, Paige Madden, won silver in a historic four-by 200 meter freestyle relay. All three teams that made the podium shattered the old world record in the event. “Just being with all these girls from UVA was really special to me too and almost made it a bit easier and more familiar. Kinda just like another travel meet, even though it really wasn’t at all,” said Madden.
Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass made the podium together, earning silver and bronze respectively in the 200 meter individual medley. “I just remember seeing 2 and 3 and just immediately going over to her and screaming and that was so crazy…It helped both of us knowing that we were going to be racing right next to each other because it was just something we were both familiar with,” said Walsh. “It was just nice to be able to go to the warm up pool at the same time and and do everything together because we kind of knew what each other was going through,” said Douglass.
Incoming freshman Emma Weyant grabbed silver in the 400 meter individual medley and got a taste of what her future will be like as a Cavalier. “I got to watch them train a lot while I was over there. I trained next to them a lot of days and I’ve known Alex for a long time and Kate and Paige and getting to know them better was really cool and it makes me really excited for next year,” said Weyant.
After the program’s first national title this year, their performances in Tokyo putting UVA on the map in international swimming. “To have these young ladies represent the University of Virginia as well as the United States and then to have the announcers talk about the University of Virginia while they’re competing I feel like goes a long way in hopefully making the University of Virginia Swimming and Diving a household name,” said DeSorbo.
But for now, these olympic medalists plan on taking a step back. “Taking a break from swimming is really good for us because we can settle down and reflect on the past few months…I do feel like we’ve been going going going going and that’s been a little bit overwhelming but it’s been so much fun and I’m really thankful for that,” said Madden.