Alex, Gretchen Walsh Capture Individual Victories on Day 1 of Southern Premier

2020 Southern Premier Meet

  • March 6th-8th, 2020
  • Georgia Tech – McAuley Aquatic Center
  • SCY (25y) Pool
  • Results on Meet Mobile “2020 Speedo Southern Premier”

The 2020 edition of the annual Southern Premier meet, which brings together several of the best club teams in the southeastern U.S., kicked off on Friday evening in Atlanta.

A group of future teammates at the University of Virginia stole the show on the meet’s first night.

In the girls’ 200 free, 17-year old high school junior Gretchen Walsh of the Nashville Aquatic Club knocked more than a second off her lifetime best, swimming 1:43.75 to win. The runner-up, Tristen Ulett from Dynamo, finished 2nd in 1:46.62, while her younger sister Rye Ulett, a USA Swimming National Junior Teamer, was 3rd in a best time of 1:47.34.

Gretchen Walsh was also 3rd in the 100 breast in 1:02.03 (after a 1:01.71 in prelims), which are the two best times of her career, and she also split 21.00 on the anchor of the Nashville Aquatic Club’s 200 free relay. The rest of that relay included her older sister, 18-year-old senior Alex Walsh, on the leadoff in 22.18, Alex Massey on the 2nd leg in 22.97, and Lauren Hurt on the 3rd leg in 23.53.

Alex Walsh picked up an individual win of her own, swimming 58.81 in the women’s 100 breaststroke. Her lifetime best, from 2017, was a 58.19.

Another future Cavalier, Jack Aikins from SwimAtlanta, won the boys’ 200 back in 1:42.83 after a prelims 1:41.73. His previous best time was 1:42.63 from the Winter Junior – East Championships. He’s now the 8th-best 17-year old in U.S. history in the 200 yard backstroke.

He also swam a 1:37.44 in prelims of the 200 free and split a 19.80 on the leadoff leg of SwimAtlanta’s winning 200 free relay (along with Connor Hinkes in 20.03, TJ Pittenger in 20.18, and distance ace Jake Magahey anchoring in 19.64).

Jake Magahey went on to place 2nd in the 200 backstroke, clocking a 1:43.18 after hitting a 1:42.39 in the morning. Both swims come in way under Magahey’s former lifetime best of 1:45.73 set at the 2019 Southern Premier. Magahey also swam the prelims of the 100 breaststroke, posting a 57.41, good for 20th, though he did not swim it in the evening session, focusing instead on the 200 free relay and the 200 backstroke. Magahey’s breaststroke comes in as a new lifetime best by nearly 4 seconds–his previous mark was set in October of 2019 in 1:01.36.

Other Notable Swims:

  • Dynamo’s Arie Voloschin dropped a 54.57 to win the 100 breaststroke. The swim this evening is an improvement of 0.24 from Voloschin’s previous best time. Voloschin, who will swim at the University of Cincinnati in the fall, just out-touched recent University of Georgia transfer Harrison Wayner, who finished in 54.89, just 0.21 above his PR.
  • 12-year-old Avery Vassil won the girl’s 50 breaststroke in 31.43, nearly 2 full seconds ahead of the runner-up. Vassil was slightly faster in the prelims with a 31.29, though her best time rests at a 30.85. Vassil’s time Friday night was also faster than all but one of the competitors in the boy’s 50 breaststroke, that being winner Hayden Hall, who took the W for the boys in 31.14.
  • Vassil also won the girl’s 11-12 200 IM in 2:15.31, registering a 39.33 breaststroke split, making her the only girl in the field to split sub-41 on the breaststroke leg of the race. Vassil’s winning time would have also won the boy’s 200 IM by nearly a second. Furthermore, Vassil’s breaststroke split would also prove faster than any in the boy’s race.
  • Hayden Hall of Tennessee Aquatics also doubled up in the 50 breast and 200 IM, winning the former in 31.14 and the latter in 2:16.04 by a margin of more than 2 seconds. Similar to Vassil, Hall recorded the fastest breaststroke split in the field with a 40.80.
  • 12-year-old Kardin Hong of Nashville Aquatic Club doubled-up with victories in the boy’s 100 freestyle (53.19) and 100 backstroke (59.13.) Hong won the backstroke by nearly 2-and-a-half seconds and shaved a massive 3.6 seconds from his prelims swim, though his best time of 58.72 from January just eluded him. In both races Dynamo’s Logan Calhoun placed 2nd.
  • The SwimMAC ‘A’ team won the 11-12 girls 200 freestyle relay in a speedy 1:43.15. The team of Avery Vassil (25.78), Ashtyn Brewer (25.89), Ava Cardwell (26.31), and Clarke Neace (25.71) won by nearly 5 seconds. This was Vassil’s third win of the night. The SwimMAC boy’s ‘A’ team tied for 1st with Dynamo ‘A’ team in 1:43.92.
  • Nashville Aquatic Club’s Alex Massey won the girl’s open 400 IM in a 4:20.32 while Dynamo’s Quinn Harron won the boy’s 400 IM in 3:53.18.

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1 year ago

Rye Ulett was 1:51.84 in prelims of 200 back, that’s 9th All-time in 15-16 ages group and she’s still only 15 years old.

Joel Lin
Reply to  BSD
1 year ago


1 year ago

Are Vassil’s times LCM? That’s insane at 12!

1 year ago

The girls 200 free relay was a 17-18 SCY NAG record

1 year ago

I see there are no more comments from “Tammy touch pad error” on Gretchen Walsh’s relay splits anymore!

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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