Alex Walsh Stealing the Show at Speedo Winter Juniors – East


14-year old Gretchen Walsh was the story of the first night (‘Day 0’, if you will) of the 2017 Speedo Winter Junior Championships – East, and continued on to win the 50 free on Thursday in a new National Age Group Record time of 22.26 in prelims and then a 22.00 in finals to break it again.

While she’s clearly a star-in-the-making, the one swimmer in Knoxville this week who has stood even taller is her older sister, 16-year old Alexandra Walsh.

On Friday, swimming in finals, she won 2 more races, the 100 breaststroke and 100 backstroke, and set new personal bests in both. She also anchored the Nashville Aquatic Club 200 free relay in 21.61 as the team roared to a 3rd relay victory of the meet.

Walsh’s stardom has been brimming for years, and this week’s meet could be the overflow-point that puts her into legitimate conversations for spots on U.S. international rosters, even as a high school student.

At the 2015 summer Junior National Championships, she had a breakthrough meet to win both the 100 (1:00.84) and 200 (2:10.55) backstrokes in long course…when she was only 13 years old. That winter she won the 100 back and 200 IM at the Winter Junior – East championships.

Fast forward a year to the 2017 Winter Junior Championships -East meet, and the pending stardom took on almost legendary status. She won the 100 back (52.32), the 200 back (1:53.70), broke a combined meets record in the 200 IM (1:54.48) and broke the Winter Juniors (combined meets) Record in the 100 breaststroke (58.80).

And even those 4 wins and 2 Winter Junior Records, she’s elevated again this weekend in Knoxville. And not just an incremental step – but another huge leap. Through the meet’s first 3 nights, she’s swum lifetime bests in the 50 free, 50 back, 100 back, 100 breaststroke, and 200 IM. The latter of those two races were done in National Age Group Records (200 IM | 100 breast).

Walsh has become an incredible talent. She has 900+ Power Point swims in 11 different events in short course yards alone, and has proven that she can race long course as well.

Food for thought on her versatility: of the 25 fastest 100 yard breaststrokers in history (Walsh now ranks 16th), she has the fastest 100 backstroke by almost an entire second. The only other breaststroker who is even close to her in the backstroke races is Melanie Margalis, who swam a 53.17 100 yard backstroke in 2014.

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I think Gretchen will win the 100 free tomorrow. What an amazing duo, if so these 2 sisters will dominate the meet. Minimum of 5 eventas and 3 NAGs between them. Already she will be a star recruit, especially with her breast. Alot if top teams are missing breast. Next year recruiting class is insane, I am guess all the top 5 will be top 8 at NCAAs, penny from Canada if she isnt pro by now, u have Ivey, Smith, Walsh, Douglas, thats a huge class of stars and I am probably missing some names. Those are just a few who I think will all be seniors next yr. Get recruiting coaches!!


big Walsh already talkin 2 Coach Meehan cant wait
Stanford already dream skool 4 Smith & Douglas

u all heard it here 1st u can thx me later
da monsta dynastys only just startin lol


whoops the list of swimmers that stanford is dream school for by coach is already happening


laff & h8te all u wanna but not gonna change da facts
u can ask Smith & Douglas dey r serious on da Card

check my old posts on Ruck Nordmann Tankersly Bartel Raab Goeders
called it long b4 dey all spill there commits 2 da public scenez

so i may been wrong on Merell but dat wuz only cuz of da AO not Meehan
everybodys & u know da bests gonna wanna come 2 da best #fearthetree


Much as I’d hate to give coach any credit, he may be onto something here. Just this once.



Walsh and Smith are in the class of 2020.


Wait why isn’t Regan Smith swimming this weekend???


I think your priorities change when you make a Worlds senior team

das swimmer

I’ve gone back and forth over the past 6 years on who was better of Walsh and Smith. This summer I thought Smith finally edged Walsh out. Now I think it’s back to even or else Walsh is ahead because of the crazy versatility (not that Smith isn’t versatile). I remember seeing them both brag the same NAG at age 10 within hours of each other.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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