Every Single Record We Saw Broken At The 2024 NCAA Championships – Women’s Edition

by SwimSwam Contributors 2

April 08th, 2024 College, News

Courtesy: Henry Lyon

The women’s NCAA season has just finished, and it’s time to look at what records were broken at the championships. While we didn’t see as many records fall on the women’s side as we did on the men’s, swimmers such as the Walsh sisters, Katharine Berkoff, and Northwestern transfer Jasmine Nocentini gave us an incredible championship to watch, with some groundbreaking swims to boot.

This year was the Gretchen Walsh sweep, swimming all-time records in almost all of her events. The only events she didn’t record the fastest time in history in were still faster than anyone else had ever been, just behind her previous swims. Since what she did this year was so insane, I decided I’d put her percentage faster than the next fastest in history just so we could compare these times a little easier. They’re a little hard to process on their own. While no one else posted a record, we still saw no shortage of chart-topping swims from other athletes.

Day 1: Gretchen Walsh Breaks Ground to Kick off Legendary NCAAs

Gretchen Walsh wasted no time this NCAAs by opening up the second-fastest 200 medley relay in history with the fastest 50 back in history… by 0.42 seconds. Maggie MacNeil, who has already lost a record to Walsh in the 50 free, posted a time of 22.52 at 2023 SECs, at the time the fastest in history. Walsh made that time look like small potatoes, putting up a sensational 22.10, almost cracking 22. That’s a 1.86% differential, outdoing even Marchand’s stunning 4:02.31 500 free on the men’s side (that was a 1.63% differential). What I find interesting as well is that MacNeil’s time was not uncontested, with Walsh herself, along with NC State sprinting specialist Katharine Berkoff, getting within a few tenths of a second of the record on multiple occasions. Like Marchand’s aforementioned 500 free, she is completely in a league of her own with this swim atop a very impressive field of athletes. Berkoff swam the free leg of NC State’s relay, posting the 7th fastest performance in history in 20.40, even though the relay was disqualified.

All-Time Performances, Women’s 50 Back (SCY)

  1. Gretchen Walsh, 22.10 – 2024 NCAAs
  2. Maggie MacNeil, 22.52 – 2023 SECs
  3. Gretchen Walsh, 22.54 – 2023 NCAAs
  4. Gretchen Walsh, 22.65 – 2023 ACCs
  5. Katharine Berkoff, 22.76 – 2022 NCAAs

Other noteworthy times of the night include UVA’s Jasmine Nocentini, Ohio State’s Hannah Bach, and Tennessee’s Mona McSharry, all of whom broke 26 in the breaststroke leg, with a 25.72, 25.68, and 25.68 respectively. Florida’s quartet of Bella Sims, Isabel Ivey, Emma Weyant, and Micayla Cronk also put up a fantastic 800 free relay, clocking a time of 6:48.59 to top the field.

Day 2: Both Walshs on Fire

Alex Walsh kicked it off today, swimming an outstanding 200 IM in 1:49.20, the second fastest in history behind only Kate Douglass’s seemingly unbeatable 1:48.37 from the 2023 NCAAs.

Alex Walsh (2024 NCAAs) Alex Walsh (2023 NCAAs, Old PB) Kate Douglass (2023 NCAAs, SCY Record)
Fly 23.80 23.95 23.51
Back 27.30 27.57 27.30
Breast 31.20 31.72 31.38
Free 26.90 26.83 26.08
Final 1:49.20 1:50.07 1:48.37

Walsh took off some time from each of her splits, save for the freestyle, on which she was barely slower. Her biggest time drop came from that electric breast leg which, as far as I can tell, is the fastest split ever. Let me know in the comments if I’m wrong about that. The major thing differentiating Walsh’s swim and Douglass’s swim is the free leg. If Walsh had split the same time as Douglass’s free, she would have been 0.01 seconds off the record.

Alex’s sister, Gretchen, also had a fantastic day of swimming, breaking her own 50 free SCY record of 20.57 with a 20.41 in prelims. The second fastest ever is, once again, Maggie MacNeil with a 20.79. Walsh came back in the final to crack that 20.41 with an unbelievable 20.37, giving her six of the seven fastest times in history. MacNeil’s 20.79 stands at fifth, tied with Walsh’s swim from the Tennessee Invitational in November. Her 20.37 is 2.02% faster than MacNeil’s swim, which is ridiculous. Walsh also went a 20.23 50 free off a flying start, a little off her blistering time of 19.95 from ACCs. UVA’s final relay time of 1:24.05 was off their SCY record of 1:23.63.

All-Time Performers, Women’s 50 Free (SCY)

  1. Gretchen Walsh, 20.37 – 2024 NCAAs
  2. Maggie MacNeil, 20.79 – 2023 NCAAs
  3. Kate Douglass, 20.84 – 2022 NCAAs
  4. Abbey Weitzeil, 20.90 – 2019 Minnesota Invitational
  5. Erika Connolly, 21.03 – 2020 SECs

Four people under 21, and Walsh is within 0.38 from being sub-20. That’s wild.

Day 3: Berkoff, Sims Get in on the Walsh Action

Day 3 kicked off again with Alex Walsh, who put up another second-fastest in history. She clocked 3:55.97 in the 400 IM to win by three seconds over Florida’s Emma Weyant, who went a 3:59.00. The only person who has ever been faster is Stanford’s Ella Eastin, whose 3:54.60 from the 2018 NCAAs looks untouchable, even today.

Alex Walsh (2024 NCAAs) Alex Walsh (2023 NCAAs) Ella Eastin (2018 NCAAs)
Fly 54.12 53.51 54.80
Back 58.91 (1:53.03) 1:00.06 (1:53.57) 58.75 (1:53.55)
Breast 1:06.67 (2:59.70) 1:07.13 (3:00.30) 1:06.57 (3:00.12)
Free 56.27 (3:55.97) 56.96 (3:57.24) 54.48 (3:54.60)

Just like in the 200, the record holder’s free leg is insane, and, also like in the 200, it’s the only thing that kept Walsh from taking it down. She was actually ahead after 300 yards before falling behind in the free, with her fly leg being the only split faster than Eastin. The major differences between her old time and her time from NCAAs are her back and free leg, which drastically improved, although her fly leg from 2023 was a good bit faster. The other major difference that I think should be noted is the control she had, with none of her splits standing out as looking too fast or too slow. That 56.27 free leg is good in a vacuum, it’s just that Eastin’s split was stellar.

That was an amazing swim from the UVA senior, but the other Walsh was about to get in the pool and do something ridiculous. Gretchen Walsh was about to swim the 100 fly, where she held the SCY record at 48.25 from ACCs this year, which cracked Kate Douglass’ SCY record of 48.46 from the 2023 NCAAs. She was 48.26 in the morning to post the second fastest ever, but no one expected what came next. I had swim practice during finals, and I remember getting out of the water to check Meet Mobile, hoping to see that she had cracked that 48 barrier, and saw a 47.42. That time is so fast, it took me a couple of minutes to begin to understand that it even happened. She’s now 2.15% faster than anyone else in history, but I feel like that doesn’t do this swim justice. Another way to think of it is that only 4 people, including herself, have been under 49. That’s Torri Huske (48.96), Maggie MacNeil (48.51), the aforementioned Kate Douglass (48.46), and Walsh, whose time was closer to being 46.9 than it was to 48.0. That is so incredibly dominant. Huske, MacNeil, and Douglass’s times all come from the same final at 2023 NCAAs.

Yet another absolutely absurd thing about this swim is the way Swimcloud took it. This is a bit of a tangent, but whenever someone goes a time that seems unlikely to swimcloud’s algorithm, it is given a little warning symbol next to it to signify that it’s suspicious. The only legit swims (that I’ve seen) that have triggered this are Walsh’s 50 free from the night before, her 100 back from ACCs (48.10), Dressel’s 50 free from 2018 when he absolutely demolished the SCY record (17.63), and 14-year old Luka Mijatovic’s 500 yard freestyle 13-14 NAG record of 4:15.71, which is a whole nine seconds ahead of any other 14 year old in history. Well, not only did this swim trigger it, it went a step further. For the other swims that I mentioned, they still show up on top times lists, underneath top performances of the meet, and the swimmer’s own rankings, albeit with the warning symbol. Walsh’s swim was so fast that that isn’t even the case for her 100 fly. Her 48.25 from ACCs is the fastest time that is shown anywhere on the site save for two places: Walsh’s meet page on swimcloud and her best times list. But something’s odd with her best times. If you click the “best” tab, it pops up a swimmer’s best times through an internal point system (I’m not quite sure how it works), and events like 25s and the 100 IM sit at the very bottom. This is because there is no point system for those events. Walsh’s 100 fly is down there for her. The only reason I can possibly see this being the case is that her time literally broke the point system, causing it to be counted as unscorable, moving it down with those other swims. That is a feat.

Gretchen Walsh (2024 NCAAs) Gretchen Walsh (2024 ACCs) Kate Douglass (2023 NCAAs)
50 21.75 22.41 22.48
100 25.67 25.84 25.98
Final 47.42 48.25 48.46

Something else to note is that that’s the first ever sub 22 opening 50 fly split, and it actually would have made the “B” final in the 50 free, where it would have placed 3rd. I have nothing else to say about that. It’s just insane.

Wow. I didn’t want to ramble on too much about that swim, but, like with Marchand, it’s kind of hard not to.

The day finished off with the 400 medley relay, where, unsurprisingly, Virginia swept the field with a 3:21.01 to break their own SCY record of 3:21.80 from 2023 NCAAs.

Virginia (2024 NCAAs) Virginia (2023 ACCs)
Back 48.26 (Gretchen Walsh) 49.25 (Gretchen Walsh)
Breast 56.34 (Jasmine Nocentini) 57.45 (Alex Walsh)
Fly 49.15 (Alex Walsh) 48.25 (Kate Douglass)
Free 47.26 (Maxine Parker) 46.85 (Aimee Canny)
Final 3:21.01 3:21.80

In a tale of two very different relays, Virginia’s 2024 swim opened a whole two seconds faster than their swim from 2023, with Gretchen Walsh’s tied-second fastest ever 50 back and Nocentini’s fantastic 56.34 leading it off. Alex Walsh had a very nice fly split, but no one except Gretchen Walsh herself can stack up to Kate Douglass’s butterfly, with her split being nearly a second faster than the 200/400 IM champion’s very respectable 49.15. The free leg was the closest, with Aimee Canny outsplitting Maxine Parker by four-tenths of a second, although Parker’s swim was still easily fast enough to crush the record.

Other noteworthy swims of the day include Northwestern transfer, now UVA swimmer, Jasmine Nocentini’s 56.09 individual 100 breast. This is the 2nd fastest in history, behind only 100 LCM breaststroke world record holder Lilly King, who holds a 55.73. Nocentini was on fire this meet, going that 25.72 50 breast relay split on day 1, finishing 3rd in the 50 free with a 21.10, and going a 46.90 100 free in prelims. She was 47.00 in finals to finish fourth.

Jasmine Nocentini (2024 NCAAs) Lilly King (2019 NCAAs)
50 26.24 25.98
100 29.85 29.75

King’s got her on both splits, but if you consider that this is arguably the best breaststroker of all time, men’s or women’s, it’s a very impressive swim. She’s my darkhorse for the 100 breast at the Olympics this year, but I suspect she won’t be much of an underdog once July rolls around.

Katharine Berkoff of North Carolina State also clocked 48.55 in the 100 back to solidify her spot as the second fastest in history in the event behind, of course, Gretchen Walsh. This was a swim that kind of got buried under Walsh’s 100 fly and 100 back leadoff, but it’s an absolutely fantastic performance that should not be understated, considering it puts her ahead of legends like Regan Smith (49.23), Beata Nelson (49.18), Claire Curzan (49.46), and Maggie MacNeil (49.76).

Day 4: The Walshs Cap it off The Only Way They Know How

As the title implies, day 4 was all Gretchen and Alex Walsh. The latter started off the day with the 200 breast, swimming a 2:02.07 for the 5th fastest performance in history. The top three times are all from UVA alum Kate Douglass (who added another time faster than anyone else in history same-day, swimming with touchpads in Charlottesville to clock a 2:01.97), who holds the record at 2:01.29. Alex Walsh sliced 0.17 seconds off her former best time of 2:02.24, which, before her and Douglass’s swim that day, was also the 5th fastest in history.

Following up that sensational swim, Gretchen Walsh dropped jaws again, becoming the first woman ever under 45 in the 100 free. She won the event in 44.83, smashing her old record of 45.16 from ACCs. The second fastest woman in history is Stanford’s Simone Manuel, who went 45.56 in 2017 at NCAAs. As with all the Gretchen Walsh records this meet, this one puts her in a league of her own in the event. She’s 1.60% faster than Manuel’s record from 2017, making this, using that metric, her least dominant record from this meet.

That’s right, a 44.83 100 free is her least dominant record of the meet. Keep in mind that this is her fourth individual SCY record that week (if you count the 50 back). That blows my mind.

All-Time Performers, Women’s 100 Free (SCY)

  1. Gretchen Walsh, 44.83 – 2024 NCAAs
  2. Simone Manuel, 45.56 – 2017 NCAAs
  3. Erika Connolly, 45.83 – 2020 SECs
  4. Kate Douglass, 45.86 – 2023 ACCs
  5. Maggie MacNeil, 46.02 – 2021 NCAAs

Split Comparison:

Gretchen Walsh (2024 NCAAs) Gretchen Walsh (2024 ACCs) Simone Manuel (2017 NCAAs)
50 21.40 21.42 21.90
100 23.43 23.74 23.66

The major improvement from Walsh’s old record came in that second 50, where she took three-tenths off her back half. Both her splits were well ahead of Manuel’s former record, but the biggest difference is in the first 50, where she was a half second faster than the former American record holder in the 50-meter freestyle.

Walsh also blasted the fastest 100 free off a flying start in history with a 45.17. This may look like small potatoes compared to her flat start 100, but that time is still ridiculously fast. The second fastest performer in history is Maggie MacNeil’s 45.26 from the 2023 SECs, although Walsh holds the second fastest time at 45.18. UVA also swam the second-fastest relay in history, missing the SCY record of 3:05.84 by 0.05 seconds, a time they swam at last year’s NCAAs.

With that, the 2024 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships concluded. While it was a very exciting championship, Gretchen Walsh stole the show with her monumental record-breaking streak. Walsh jumped in the water ten times this meet, and seven of those times she walked out with a new SCY record. If you include her 50 fly opening split and the 400 medley relay, she broke eight SCY records in four days. That’s an unbelievable meet, up there with only truly legendary performances like Caeleb Dressel’s 2018 NCAAs and Kate Douglass’s 2023 NCAAs. Here’s every single record broken at this meet. Looking through, I think you might notice a pattern.

Event Record Swimmer Time Old Record
50 Back SCY Gretchen Walsh (University of Virginia) 22.10 22.52 (Maggie MacNeil, Michigan, 2023)
50 Free SCY (broken) Gretchen Walsh (University of Virginia) 20.41 20.57 (Gretchen Walsh, UVA, 2024)
50 Free SCY Gretchen Walsh (University of Virginia) 20.37 20.41 (Gretchen Walsh, UVA, 2024)
50 Fly (Split) SCY Gretchen Walsh (University of Virginia) 21.75 22.34 (Gretchen Walsh, UVA, 2024)
100 Fly SCY Gretchen Walsh (University of Virginia) 47.42 48.25 (Gretchen Walsh, UVA, 2024)
400 Medley Relay SCY University of Virginia (Gretchen Walsh, Jasmine Nocentini, Alex Walsh, Maxine Parker) 3:21.01 3:21.80 (UVA, 2023)
100 Free SCY Gretchen Walsh (University of Virginia) 44.83 45.16 (Gretchen Walsh, 2024)
100 Free (Relay Start) SCY Gretchen Walsh (University of Virginia) 45.17 45.18 (Gretchen Walsh,

Yep. Every single one included Gretchen Walsh. I’m gonna leave it at that. There’s not much more you can say.


Henry Lyon is a distance swimmer with M3 Aquatics located in Chicago, Illinois. He has been swimming since the age of eight, and has been passionate about the sport ever since the beginning. Still only a sophomore in high school, he hopes to go on to make a difference in the sport as he gets older, starting with his work on the Illinois Swimming Age Group Committee, as well as working as a swim instructor for M3A’s swim school. He hopes to continue both of those things going into college and beyond. 

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 months ago

Woah, Ella Eastin outsplit Alex Walsh on the breaststroke leg in that 400 IM record.

2 months ago

It’s time to look forward:

Re-Rank: Top 20 Girls NCAA Swimming Recruits, Class of 2024?