Gretchen Walsh just swam the fastest 50y freestyle in history last night at 20.79… but no one seems to care. Why not?
As an avid swim fan for nearly two decades, I’ve seen a lot of fast swimming. It’s always exciting to see records get broken and new limits reached in our sport. What isn’t fun, though, is when people see someone who *could* be fast and let their expectations dictate their reactions to said athlete’s performance.
Case in point: Gretchen Walsh. The Virginia junior has been on a warpath this season, swimming times (unsuited, unrested) that 99.9999% of NCAA athletes could only pray to achieve at the pinnacle of their career to the tune of 20.9 50 free, 49.1 100 fly/back, 46.4 100 free. So when she broke the American record in the 50 free, it felt expected. Even if it’s at a mid-season meet.
I’d caution swim fans to be careful with expectations. You never know when something great is going to happen in the pool. When it does, I’d advise celebration, because we don’t know the next time it will happen again.
Moral of the story: Gretchen Walsh went the fastest time anyone ever has. Yay fast swimming!