Erin Gemmell

View Current photo via Jon Reiter

Erin Gemmell is an American middle-distance freestyler. She is a medalist at Short Course Worlds and a 6x Jr Pan Pacs record holder. 

Junior/High School Swimming

Gemmell is the daughter of Nation’s Capital Swim Club coach Bruce Gemmell. Bruce Gemmell was the club coach for Katie Ledecky through the 2016 Olympics where he was on the coaching staff. He was a successful swimmer with several Olympic Trials qualifications. Erin’s brother Andrew competed in the 1500 at the 2012 Olympics and is an Open Water World Champion. 

Gemmell helped break the 11-12 200 free relay NAG record in 2017 at the Potomac Valley Swimming Junior Olympics with her NCAP teammates. Gemmell split 24.96. 

At the 2018  Potomac Valley LC Senior Championships, Gemmell put up a 2:02.73 200 free to win. The next day she put up a 4:21.88 400 free for 2nd. 

At 2018 Summer Juniors, Gemmell swam a 56.72 for 6th in the 100 free, one-tenth off her prelim swim for 17th in the 13-14 NAG. In the 200 free, Gemmell qualified 3rd with 2:01.50, making #3 all-time for 13-year-olds. She moved up 1 spot in the rankings with a 2:00.70 to win. In the 50 free, Gemmell was 26.15 for 7th; she dropped .01 in finals for 8th.  

Gemmell and Ledecky tossed out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals Game. It was part of a “swim night,” where fans could receive a Nationals swim cap and participate in a meet-and-greet.

Gemmell helped NCAP break 2 13-14 NAG records in the mixed 400 medley and mixed 400 free relays at the NCAP Invitational in December. 

Gemmell was busy at the 2019 NCSA Age Group Championships, taking on 9 events and putting up PBs in all of them. Gemmell records the 100 free (49.54) in prelims, 200 fly in prelims (2:01.20) and finals (2:00.92), 200 free (1:46.19), and 200 IM (2:01.37). While not records she also had great swims in her other events: 50 free (23.09), 500 free (4:53.06), 100 breast (1:05.97), 50 fly (25.36), and 100 fly (54.91).

At the 2019 PVS Long Course Open in the 200 IM, Gemmell was 3rd with a lifetime best of 2:16.58. Her time puts her at #12 in the all-time 13-14 rankings. Gemmell also set a lifetime best in the 50 free with a 26.00, #11 all-time in the 13-14 NAG. 

At the 2019 NCAP Invitational, Gemmell split 48.40 and 49.00 on the 400 medley and 400 free relays respectively. The relays broke the NAG record for the 15-16 400 medley, the 15-16 400 free, and the 15-18 400 free relays.  

Competing at the 2020 Independent School League Championships for Stone Ridge (Katie Ledecky and Phoebe Bacon’s team), she threw down a meet record in the 100 free with a 49.92 and won the 200 free with a 1:46.90. Gemmell helped Stone Ridge break the 200 free relay record with a 22.45 anchor as the team took down the League Record in 1:35.07.

In the opening event Metros Championsips, Phoebe Bacon on back (23.86) and Gemmell on fly (24.10) helped break the 200 medley relay record with a 1:42.62. In the next event, Gemmell crushed a PB with a 1:45.96 200 free for the win. She also won the 100 free in 49.56. In the 200 free relay, Stone Ridge finished in 1:34.47. Gemmell’s anchor split was a speedy 22.63.

At the PV Winter Champs, Gemmell was 23.21/50.05/1:46.49/4:45.88 in the 50 through 500 free events. The 500 was a PB. Later, at the PSS in Richmond, Gemmell topped the 200 free in a PB of 1:59.69, was 4th in the 100 free in 56.17, and 5th in the 400 free in 4:17.50.

Gemmell wrapped her SCY season up at the 2021 PVS SC Championships. She highlighted her meet with a PB of 49.44 in the 100 free. Gemmell was also 1:46.63 in the 200 free. 

At the TAC Titians Premiere Meet in Cary, NC, Gemmell managed a 3rd in the 100 free with a PB of 55.54. She put up another PB to top the 200 free with a 1:59.28.

For the 18 & U Spring Cup in Richmond, Gemmell went head-to-head with Claire Weinstein in the 400 free. The two pushed each other to new PBs and Wave II Olympic Trials cuts. Gemmell entered the meet with a 4:16.66, which she had swum in July of 2019, and dropped to a 4:12.94 for the win.

In SwimSwam’s “Way Too Early” sophomore ranking of the class of 2023, Gemmell was ranked 10th.

Gemmell used the 2021 NCAP Invitational as her SCY focus meet for the winter. Gemmell clocked a 1:45.46 for 4th place, a personal best. Gemmell finished 2nd in 4:40.63 in the 500 free, under her personal best of 4:45.88. She also swam a personal best of 49.03 in the 100 free prelims. In the 1000, Gemmell won with a 9:43.05. 

Gemmell, now a junior at Stone Ridge, broke a pair of individual school records and league championship records at the Independent School League Championships. The Gators opened up the meet with a 1:44.72 in the 200 medley relay. Gemmell swam the anchor freestyle leg in 22.10. Gemmell won the 50 free in 22.74. While that missed the league record, it did break the Meet Record of 23.56. It also broke the Stone Ridge School record set by Phoebe Bacon in 2017. 

Gemmell then won the 100 free in 48.97, which again broke the Meet Record. She also broke Ledecky’s 100 freestyle team record. Ledecky’s 49.45 was done to the feet in her 1:41.55 200 free at 2015 Metros which set a new National High School Record. Gemmell split 48.80 on the 400 free relay anchor leg.

Moving on to the DC Metro Championships, Stone Ridge rolled to a 2nd consecutive team title. Gemmell delivered the fastest free split (22.32) in the 200 medley. Gemmell would go on to win the 100 free (48.83) and the 200 free (1:44.37). She split a swift 47.94 on the 400 free relay as she rallied for the win. 

At the 2022 PVS Senior Champs, the team of Sophie Duncan, Tatum Wall, Camille Spink, and Erin Gemmell combined for a 7:06.69 to take down the 17-18 800 free relay NAG record. Gemmell anchored in 1:43.21. In the same session, she won the 100 breast in 1:03.27. Later in the meet, she won the 200 IM in 1:57.78 and was runner-up in the 200 fly in 1:57.04. 

Shifting to LCM, Gemmell had some big PBs at Indy Sectionals. In the 50 free, she was 3rd in 25.80, a .01 drop. She threw down a swift 1:57.41 200 free, to win and make her the #5 15-16 NAG performer and the then #8 in the world for the year. Gemmell clocked a 4:09.81, dipping under 4:10 for the first time. She was also 1:00.82 in the 100 fly and 2:16.50 in the 200 IM

Gemmell was ranked #5 in SwimSwam’s Junior Year  Re-rank of the Class of 2023. 

At a summer club meet just a bit out for 2022 Summer Nationals, Gemmell posted a 1:57.45 200 free, just off her PB.

Stone Ridge won their 3rd straight Metros title on the back of Gemmell. Gemmell came into the meet having set a PB of 48.80 at the Independent School League Championships. She won the 100 free (48.19) and 200 free (1:43.45), with the former breaking a Metros record. Stone Ridge won both the 200 free relay (1:33.75, 22.3 anchor by Gemmell) and the 400 free relay (3:22.97, 48.01 split by Gemmell). Both set new Metros records.

At Sectionals in Richmond, Gemmell put up season bests in the 100, 200, and 400 LCM free. She went 55.01, 1:57.11, and 4:08.11 in the events respectively. 

Despite her major LC strides and her SC Worlds medals, Gemmell fell in SwimSwam’s final rankings of the class of 2023 to #7. 

College Swimming (Texas)

In November 2021, Gemmell announced her commitment to the University of Texas. 

National/International Swimming

2019 Summer Nationals (Stanford, California)

Gemmell had an excellent meet, posting best times in the 100 free and 200 free. She was 56.05 in the 100 free prelims and just a little slower with a 56.12 in finals for 30th. In the 200 free, she broke 2:00 with a 1:59.85 for 13th in the final. The 200 free was just a hair back from 16-year-old Ashley Strouse which means that Gemmell still qualified for World Juniors but on relays while Strouse makes the 200 free individually. 

2019 FINA World Junior Championships (Budapest, Hungary)

Gemmell had the fastest split on the American 800 free relay in prelims with a 1:59.40, earning her a spot on the finals squad. In finals, Gemmell was 1:59.70 as the U.S. clinched gold. Gemmell was also on the prelims squad of the 400 free relay where she split 55.52. The finals team earned another gold. 

2020 U.S. Open (multi-site)

Gemmell had some near brushes with her PBs (and one in her 800 free) at the Richmond site of the 2020 U.S. Open. There, she was 5th in the 50 (26.01) and 3rd in the 100 (56.22), 200 (2:00.63), 400 (4:17.87), and 800 frees (8:50.55).

2020(1) Olympic Team Trials (Omaha, Nebraska)

Gemmell had a super impressive 2020(1) Olympic Team Trials. Her best event was clearly the 200 free. In prelims, she took down her PB with a 1:58.96. The swim was good enough to make semis as #8 and moved her up to #11 out of the all-time fastest 15-16 year-olds in the NAG. In semis, she just missed the final with another PB of 1:58.67 for 9th. She also had great swims in her other events: 4:11.57 for 11th in the 400 free, 8:50.05 for 31st in the 800 free, 25.81 for 33rd in the 50 free, and 56.20 for 39th in the 100 free. 

2021 FINA World Cup (Berlin, Germany & Budapest, Hungary)

Gemmell was one of the junior swimmers USA Swimming sent to the FINA World Cup in Berlin and Budapest. In Berlin, Gemmel was 3rd in the 400 free (4:05.61). At the same stop, she was 1:55.73 in the 200 free for 6th. Just a week later, she showed major progress in SCM. At the Budapest stop, she was 4:03.28 for 4th in the 400, 1:55.04 for 3rd in the 200 free, 55.56 for 16th in the 100 free, and 8:31.22 in the 800 free for 7th. 

2021 U.S Open (Greensboro, North Carolina)

Gemmell continued to fire on all cylinders in freestyle. Her best finish came from 2 2nd places: the 200 free (1:58.61) and 400 free (4:10.12). Both were PBs.

2022 International Team Trials (Greensboro, North Carolina)

Gemmell opened her meet with a PB of 55.25 for 18th in the 100 free. In the 200 free prelims, she was just off her best with a 1:57.93 for the 4th seed in finals. In finals, she was further off her best with a 1:58.12 for 7th. 

In the end, Katie Ledecky decided to drop the 200 free from her Worlds schedule which made Gemmell the 6th qualifier but for some unknown reason, she was not selected for Worlds. Selection criteria for international events must be “consistently applied” in order for USA Swimming to continue to be certified as a national governing body, as per the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act.

Over a year later, when the same situation occurred with Anna Peplowski at the 2023 International Team Trials and Peplowski was selected, USA Swimming issued an apology to Gemmell that read in part: “.We realize the error in 2022 caused major disappointment for Gemmell, her coaches, and her family…USA Swimming extends our most sincere apologies to Erin.”

Gemmell was 8th in the 400 free with a 4:14.40, 13th in the 200 IM with a best time of 2:16.40, and 38th in the 50 free with a 26.25. 

Instead of Worlds, Gemmell was selected for the 2022 Pan Pacific Championships for the 200 and 400 free.

2022 Mare Nostrum Tour (Multi-site)

Gemmell opted to get some more LCM racing against elite competition at the Mare Nostrum Tour. At the stop in Barcelona, Gemmell impressed with a 1:58.26 for 2nd in the 200 free and a 55.62 for 8th in the 100 free (She was 55.33 in an earlier swim-off). At the Canet-en-Roussillon stop, Gemmell impressed again. She was 5th in the 200 free with a 1:57.95 and 3rd in the 400 free with a 4:09.99. 

2022 Summer Nationals (Irvine, California)

Gemmell opened the meet by crushing a 54.62 100 free for 6th, well under her prior best. She rocked the 200 free prelims with a PB of 1:57.12. In the finals, Gemmell dropped a further second with a 1:56.14 for 2nd behind Ledecky (1:54.50). The swim made her the #9 American in history, and would have won bronze at 2022 Worlds. Gemmell clocked another personal best in the 400 free prelims with a 4:08.69. She dropped that further to a stunning 4:06.17 to win. In the 200 IM, she was 6th with a 2:14.00

2022 Junior Pan Pacific Championships (Honolulu, Hawaii)

Gemmell came within half a second of her entry time to win the final heat of 200 freestyle prelims with a 1:56.66 to break the previous record of 1:57.73, set by Dagny Knutson in 2009. She broke her own record in finals with a dominant 1:56.15. In the 100 free finals the next day, her winning time of 54.13 took down the meet record of 54.42 she established this morning (which broke Gretchen Walsh’s 54.47 meet record from 2018) and moved her up to #6 all-time in the 17-18 NAG. 

The relay swim she had at the end of the night was even more impressive. Facing a 3-second Australian lead, Gemmell dove in for the anchor, rocketing to a stunning 1:54.86 split to carry the U.S. to victory and a new Championship Record. Her split has implications on a global scale as at the 2022 World Championships just 2 months prior, only 4 swimmers in the final split faster than Gemmell did tonight. 

If all that wasn’t enough, the next day, Gemmell blasted away to victory in the 400 free, tearing to a lifetime best of 4:05.07. The swim also marks yet another Junior Pan Pacs Record for Gemmell, shredding Leah Smith’s 4:07.10 from 2012. It made Gemmell #6 in the 17-18 NAG. Gemmell split 54.29 as she helped the U.S. 4×100 free relay to victory in yet another Championship Record, her 5th of the meet.

On her final day of racing, Gemmell faced her first defeat as she placed 3rd in the 50 free in 25.46. She was 25.42 for a new PB in prelims. Gemmell claimed her 6th and final meet record as she split 53.73 to bring home the 400 medley relay.

2022 FINA World Cup (Indianapolis, Indiana)

Gemmell made massive strides in the SCM pool ahead of SC Worlds. She was 24.98/52.97/1:53.27/4:00.45 in the 50 through 400 frees. Her best finish was 3rd in the 400; Gemmell was also 6th in the 200 free.

2022 U.S. Open (Greensboro, North Carolina)

Gemmell was solid in her core events. She was 4:10.15 in the 400 free for 5th. In the 200 free, Gemmell was 1:57.16 for 2nd, just .42 seconds off Kate Ledecky’s winning time.

2022 FINA Short Course World Championships

At her first senior-level international meet, Gemmell had an impressive showing. She nearly medaled in both of her individual events. In the 400 free, Gemmell was 3rd in prelims with a 4:00.49. In finals, she added over a second with a 4:01.82 for 6th. Gemmell was 3rd again in the 200 free prelims with a 1:53.47. In the finals, she put up a lifetime best 1:52.56, just .28 off a medal in 4th. In the 200 free relay, Gemmell swam a 24.34 on the prelims relay while in the 400 free relay, Gemmell was 52.84 on the prelims squad. The teams earned gold for the 200 free relay and silver for the 400 free relay. Gemmell was on the finals squad of the 800 free relay where she split 1:52.23, the fastest split on the American team, to help win bronze.

2023 International Team Trials (Indianapolis, Indiana)

Gemmell opened her meet with a 54.26 100 free for 10th in prelims. She was just off with a 54.39 for 11th in finals. The next day was the 200 free. Gemmell was 3rd in prelims with a 1:56.28. In finals, she dropped a hair to 1:56.23, just off her PB and good for 4th, assuring her a spot in Fukuoka, Japan. In the 400 free, she finished 5th with a 4:06.93 and in the 50 free she had her sole PB with a 25.29.

2023 World Aquatics Championships (Fukuoka, Japan)

With just the 800 free relay, Gemmell performed admirably. She had the only sub-1:56 split of the entire prelim with a 1:55.65. In the final, Gemmell was given lead-off duties and put up a 1:55.97, getting the US out to 3rd. The rest of the team pulled through for a silver. The time for Gemmell was her first time under 1:56 from a flat start.

–This biography was originally developed by Lucas Caswell

International Medals

Place Event Year Meet
Gold 200 Freestyle Relay 2023 Short Course World Championships
Silver 400 Freestyle Relay 2023 Short Course World Championships
Bronze 800 Freestyle Relay 2023 Short Course World Championships
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2019 World Junior Championships
Gold 800 Freestyle Relay 2019 World Junior Championships

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
scy 50 Free 22.73 01/21/22 Independent School League Championships
Bethesda, Maryland
scy 100 Free 48.19 02/11/23 2022 Metro Championships
Boyds, Maryland
scy 200 Free 1:43.45 02/11/23 2022 Metro Championships
Boyds, Maryland
scy 500 Free 4:40.63 12/11/21 PV NCAP Invitiational
College Park, Maryland
scy 1000 Free 9:43.05 12/12/21 PV NCAP Invitiational
College Park, Maryland
scm 100 Free 52.97 11/05/22 2022 FINA World Cup
Indianapolis, Indiana,
scm 200 Free 1:52.56 12/18/22 2022 FINA Short Course World Championships
Melbourne, Australia
scm 400 Free 4:00.45 11/03/22 2022 FINA World Cup
Indianapolis, Indiana,
lcm 50 Free 25.29 07/01/23 2023 International Team Trials
Indianapolis, Indiana
lcm 100 Free 54.13 08/25/22 2022 Junior Pan Pacific Championships
Honolulu, Hawaii
lcm 200 Free 1:56.14 07/27/22 2022 Summer Nationals
Irvine, California
lcm 400 Free 4:05.07 08/26/22 2022 Junior Pan Pacific Championships
Honolulu, Hawaii
lcm 200 IM 2:14.00 07/30/22 2022 Summer Nationals
Irvine, California