Alex Walsh is a competitive swimmer who represents the U.S. internationally. She is a 2020 Olympic silver medalist and 2022 world champion in the 200 IM.
Alex started her swimming career young, and rose to an elite level early, first appearing in SwimSwam at the age of 12 after dropping a 1:55 200 free. She continued to have massive success after that, breaking NAG’s left and right and developing all 4 strokes very effectively. This led to Walsh being ranked as SwimSwam’s #2 recruit for the class of 2020, behind only Regan Smith.
On March 12, 2019, Alex announced her verbal commitment to swim at the University of Virginia.
Walsh made an immediate impact for the Virginia Cavaliers. At her first ACC Championships, she won the 200 IM (1:51.53), placed 4th in the 100 breast (58.28), and placed 3rd in the 200 back (1:51.12). She was also a part of the winning 200 free, 400 free, 800 free, and 400 medley relays.
At her first NCAAs, Walsh walked away as a champion in more ways than one. She earned a relay title (800 free relay), and individual title (200 IM, 1:51.87), and helped the UVA women to their first-ever overall team title. Walsh also placed 5th in the 200 free (1:44.12) and 5th in the 200 breast (2:05.86). She also swam on UVA’s 2nd place 200 and 400 free relays.
Walsh carried over her successes from freshman year to her sophomore campaign. At the ACC Championships, she took individual titles in the 200 IM (1:52.38), 200 free (1:42.28), and 200 breast (2:03.02). She also helped UVA to relay titles in the 800 free (meet record), 200 free (NCAA, US Open and American record), 400 medley (NCAA, US Open and American record), and 400 free (meet record) relays.
At the NCAA Championships, much like her teammate Douglass, Walsh switched up her event lineup but stayed perfect, going 3-for-3 in the 200 IM (1:50.08, NCAA, US Open and American record), 400 IM (3:57.25), and 200 Fly (1:50.79). She once again helped UVA to 3 relay titles in the 200 free, 400 medley (*TIED* NCAA, US Open and American record), and 400 free (NCAA, US Open and American record) relays, as well as a 2nd place in the 800 free relay.
2018 Summer Nationals (Irvine, California)
In Irvine, Walsh swam the 100 free (55.63), 200 back (2:09.36, 9th in finals), 50 Breast (32.17), 50 Back (28.25, 7th in finals), 100 Back (1:00.83), and 200 IM (2:11.83 in prelims, 6th in finals).
Being the top junior in the 200 IM earned Walsh a spot on the JR Pan Pac team roster. She also ended up earning a spot on the Pan American Games roster for her finishes in the 200 back and 20 IM.
2018 Jr Pan Pacs (Suva, Fiji)
At Jr Pan Pacs, Walsh was voted to be 1 of 5 captains for team USA. She swam the prelims of the 100 breast (1:10.93), 200 back (2:11.34), and 200 IM, the event in which she made the team.
In finals of the 200 IM, she won by over 2 seconds in a time of 2:12.06. She also swam on the winning women’s 4×100 free relay (54.94) and anchored team USA’s 4×100 medley B relay (55.72) which would have placed behind the USA and Australia A squads.
2019 Southern Premiere (Nashville, Tennessee)
At the 2019 Southern Premiere in Alex’s home town of Nashville, TN, Walsh had yet another spectacular performance. She broke a 6-year-old 17-18 NAG, going 2:05.87 in the 200 yard breaststroke. She was also a part of the new 15-18 NAG in the 200 medley relay, where she led off the team with a blazing split of 23.64.
Walsh garnered wins in the 100 breast (58.87), 400 IM (4:07.98), 100 fly (51.31) and as a part of the 4×50 free and 4×100 medley relays. Walsh also earned a 2nd place finish in the 50 free (22.24) behind her sister, Gretchen.
2019 Pan American Games (Lima, Peru)
At the 2019 Pan Ams, Walsh went 3-for-3 in gold medals for her swims. On day 2 of competition, Walsh earned her first major international gold, touching first in the 200 back in a new lifetime best of 2:08.30, just .09 ahead of her American teammate Isabelle Stadden.
On day 4, Walsh was chosen to swim the 2nd leg of the 4×200 free relay, where she split 1:58.27 to help USA to gold.
On day 5, Walsh wrapped up her meet in the 200 IM, registering another narrow victory ahead of an American, this time getting the best of Meghan Small for gold, 2:11.24 to 2:11.36.
2019 US Open (Atlanta, Georgia)
At the 2019 US Open, Walsh broke the 17-18 National Age Group Record in the women’s 200 IM. Walsh came in 2nd in the A final, touching in 2:09.01, just .17 seconds behind champion Melanie Margalis. Walsh’s previous best of 2:11.24 already ranked her 5th all-time in the 17-18 rankings. She shattered the NAG, which stood at 2:10.02 from Elizabeth Pelton back in 2011.
Here is a split comparison between Walsh’s record time, her previous best, and Pelton’s NAG from 2011:
|SWIMMER||ALEX WALSH 2019 US OPEN||ALEX WALSH 2019 PAN AMS||
ELIZABETH PELTON 2011 US WINTER NATS
|Back||33.03 (1:01.29)||33.19 (1:01.40)||32.56 (1:00.42)|
|Breast||37.42 (1:38.71)||37.97 (1:39.37)||38.80 (1:39.22)|
The biggest difference between Walsh in Atlanta and her performance at this past Summer’s Pan American Games is that she came home much faster at US Open. She was just .11 seconds faster on the first 100 than she was in Peru, but she came back a whopping 2.12 seconds faster, largely thanks to her 30.30 on the free leg compared to 31.87 at Pan Ams. When Pelton set the NAG, she took the race out considerably faster than Walsh had before in her career, but lacked the back end speed Walsh showed.
2021 Olympic Trials
On night 4 in Omaha, Alex Walsh qualified for her first Olympic team, touching for 1st in the 200 IM in 2:09.30. Earlier in the meet she swam prelims of the 100 back and qualified for the semi-final (13th, 1:00.86), but scratched.
2020 Olympic Games
At the Games in Tokyo, Walsh moved through prelims and semis of the 200 IM easily. In finals, she swam a strong race, putting herself in a position to win and racing Yui Ohashi down the stretch, ultimately touching for 2nd in a personal best of 2:08.65, earning silver.
2022 World Championships
After winning the 200 IM convincingly at the 2022 US World Trials, Walsh brought the same energy to night 2 in Budapest. She swam a strong race and led wire-to-wire, clocking. 2:07.13 to not only take her first world title but become the #5 performer all-time in the event.