#1 in Class of 2021, Nashville’s Gretchen Walsh Makes Verbal Commitment to…

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Nashville, Tennessee’s Gretchen Walsh, the #1 recruit on our Way Too Early List of Top 20 Girls in the high school class of 2021, has made a verbal commitment to join her sister Alex Walsh at the University of Virginia.

“I am SO excited to announce my verbal commitment to swim and study at the University of Virginia!! I couldn’t have done it without the support from my family, coaches, and friends. WAHOOWA🧡💙 #newyearnewhoo”

Walsh is a member of the USA Swimming Women’s National Team for 2019-20. She swims for Harpeth Hall High School, where she is a junior, and Nashville Aquatic Club. In only two years she has already broken the Tennessee TISCA state records in the 50 free (22.26), 100 fly (52.36), and 100 back (51.57). In 2018 she became the youngest U.S. female swimmer ever to break the 22-second barrier in the 50y free, setting a National Age Group Record for 15-16 girls with 21.85. She has since lowered it to 21.82 and has also broken NAG Records in the 100y free (47.49) and 50m free (24.71). Walsh represented the U.S. at FINA World Junior Championships in Budapest this past summer, earning gold medals in the 50 free (24.71), 100m free (53.74), women’s 400 free relay, women’s 400 medley relay, mixed 400 free, relay, and mixed 400 medley relay and produced the #1 50m free time in the world for 18-and-under girls.

In December, Walsh finished 3rd in the 50m free (24.83), 9th in the 100 free (54.58), and 10th in the 100 fly (59.17) at U.S. Open. She has 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials cuts in the 50/100/200 free, 100 back, 100 fly, and 200 IM.

Walsh is the fourth top-20 recruit from the class of 2021 to commit to the Cavaliers. Her future classmates will include Abby Kapeller, Caroline Pennington, Ella Bathurst (#12), Kate Morris (#19), and Reilly Tiltmann (#6). Walsh is a massive get for the Cavs. Her 50/100 free times would already score in the A finals at NCAAs and her 100 back would have made the B final at the 2019 Women’s Championships. She will have enormous value to four UVA relays, as well.

Top SCY times:

  • 50 free – 21.82
  • 50 free relay – 21.19
  • 100 free – 47.49
  • 200 free – 1:44.91
  • 100 back – 51.57
  • 100 fly – 52.23
  • 200 IM – 1:58.15

If you have a commitment to report, please send an email with a photo (landscape, or horizontal, looks best) and a quote to [email protected].

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Ernie and Bert
2 years ago

Lots of odd commenting on this. It shouldn’t be that difficult to respect the girls decision and wish her well.

DravenOP
Reply to  Ernie and Bert
2 years ago

Welcome to the SwimSwam comment section or better yet the internet, where being anonymous means you can troll freely.

P.M.
2 years ago

US News & World Report college and university rankings:
UVA #4 public / #28 overall
NCS #34 public / #84 overall

Also, UVA women comparatively have more top 10 team finishes at women’s swimming NCAAs, more NCAA individual titles in women’s swimming events and more NCAA titles across all sports ever. I think all of those facts demonstrate which school is a more favorable choice for any recruit.

UVA. All. Day.

DravenOP
Reply to  P.M.
2 years ago

I don’t think she ever considered NCSU. Better comparison would be Stanford and Cal.

P.M.
Reply to  DravenOP
2 years ago

That was to the NCS commenters hating on UVA.

Swimmerj
2 years ago

Walsh-Wenger-Douglass-Walsh…

Swimgeek
Reply to  Swimmerj
2 years ago

Exactly. That 4th swimmer is already on the team – Wenger is only a sophomore and made the NCAA A final 100 breast as a freshman. She’s even better in a 50 breast

Jalynn
Reply to  Swimmerj
2 years ago

Isn’t Alex Walsh older than Kate Douglas and still a year behind her in school? How did that happen?

remel can do anything
Reply to  Jalynn
2 years ago

haha sth like ryan held and ryan murphy

swimgeek
Reply to  Jalynn
2 years ago

Probably both have Aug/Sept/Oct B-days — so could go either way on grade. This is pretty common.

swamfan
Reply to  Jalynn
2 years ago

Her parents might have “Kindergarten redshirted” her. It’s not uncommon for parents (especially white and upper/ middle class) whose kids have August/ September birthdays to wait an extra year before enrolling them in Kindergarten so they’ll be one of the oldest in their grade instead of one of the youngest. This is supposed to be advantageous to their kids.

Thomas
2 years ago

Forget the super suit era. Soon it’ll be , forget the ‘Douglass and Walsh sisters’ era

Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

The year is starting well for UVA fans.
Gretchen Walsh is a sprint diamond in the rough to polish. Unlimited potential.
Imagine if Huske goes there too!

Tea rex
2 years ago

Douglass Walsh Walsh and a sea urchin would make a pretty good relay

USAUSAUSA
2 years ago

I see a lot of comments. Is this positive or is this a Greg Troy will ruin dressel thing?

Yup
Reply to  USAUSAUSA
2 years ago

Ask Ol’ Longhorn about Dressel

The Ready Room
Reply to  USAUSAUSA
2 years ago

It’s a congrats-Gretchen-but-y’all-UVA-fans-are-annoying thing.

Swimgeek
2 years ago

I’ve gotta believe that the ridiculously good fall that Kate Douglass is only going to help recruiting at uva

Jalynn
Reply to  Swimgeek
2 years ago

Why? There are many young women on the team that haven’t had such stellar improvements. The ‘Desorbo effect’ may not work for everyone.

Samuel Huntington
Reply to  Jalynn
2 years ago

It is still too early to say for the other recruits. Douglass is obviously a special talent.

Jalynn
Reply to  Samuel Huntington
2 years ago

Or, maybe the training is geared towards the super powers.

DravenOP
Reply to  Jalynn
2 years ago

I would advise you to go actually look at improvement as a whole for the UVA team last year. It is much more than just the “super powers” that had improvements. And yes, there will be some who don’t improve- thats just how it goes. CAL/Stanford/ETC have had big name recruits come in and just fizzle out as well.

dmswim
Reply to  Jalynn
2 years ago

Quite a few “non-stars” have improved at UVA. Look at Alexis Wenger. Before coming to UVA her best 100 breaststroke time was from when she was 14. She went 1:01.5 her senior year of high school. Not a bad time, but she wasn’t a superstar on the team coming in. Working with DeSorbo, she went 58.3 last year.
Looking at their current roster, I only found three swimmers on the women’s side that haven’t gone best times in their primary events while at UVA. All three are sophomores which means there’s still a good chance they will before the graduate. Maybe some that haven’t improved quit, but looking at the current team, DeSorbo seems to bring out personal improvement… Read more »

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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