Gretchen Walsh Becomes Youngest Trials Qualifier With 25.9 50 Free


  • June 16th-18th, 2016
  • Nashville, Tennessee (Nashville Aquatic Club)
  • Live results

At the Speedo Summer Sizzler in Tennessee, 13-year-old Nashville Aquatic Clubber Gretchen Walsh put up a 25.96 to win the 50 free and become the nation’s youngest Olympic Trials qualifier of this Olympic cycle.

That time betters the Trials cut of 26.19 and also smokes out Walsh’s previous best time of 26.58 done back in March.

The 13-year-old now moves into a tie for 5th all-time in her age group. The National Age Group record for 13-14s stands at a 25.23 from one Missy Franklin.

In another big swim, Walsh’s NAC teammate, 16-year-old Allie Raab, smashed more than two seconds off her lifetime-best to go 2:29.86 in the 200 breaststroke.

Entering the meet with a lifetime-best of 2:32.01, Raab crushed her 2:29 at night while engaged in a tight race with teammate Ella Nelson. The 14-year-old Nelson was 2:30.96, taking about half a second off her previous best time of 2:31.63.

Raab now sits #16 all-time among Americans in the 15-16 age group, while Nelson is #11 in the 13-14 historical rankings.

The men’s 200 breast also featured one of the night’s better swims, with 23-year-old Cameron Conners going 2:19.39 to win for the Huntsville Swim Academy. Conners is an Alabama alumnus.

Nelson and Walsh were also part of another National Age Group record-breaking relay on the night as well. Nelson split 1:12.64 on breaststroke and Walsh 1:02.18 on butterfly. They were joined by Alex Walsh (1:02.13 backstroke) and Lauren Hurt (59.39 freestyle) to go 4:16.34 and smash the NAG record in the 13-14 400 medley relay. You can read more about that here.

USC alum Dakota Hodgson, now back competing for Nashville Aquatic Club, his hometown team, put up a nice 1:59.13 to win the 200 fly – that’s about a second and a half shy of his personal best, done at last summer’s Nationals.

Tennessee Aquatics’ Austin Hirstein won a pair of events on the boys side. The 21-year-old took the 100 back (57.45) and 50 free (23.26). Hirstein is currently a rising senior for the Tennessee Vols.

In the younger age groups, Nathan Jin was the big winner, taking three event titles on Friday night. Jin won the 200 IM (2:25.82), 100 breast (1:17.55) and 100 free (1:00.20).

On the girls side, Ainsley Jones and Rye Ulett each won two events. Jones took the 200 IM (2:33.86) and 100 breast (1:21.10) while Ulett won the 50 back (33.13) and 100 fly (1:08.08).

In the 13-14s, the only double individual winner was Abby Grottle of Dynamo, who took the 200 fly (2:19.08) and 400 free (4:25.92) by wide margins.

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6 years ago

Is that time for 50 metre free? Wow. That’s crazy fast for 13!

6 years ago

Well good for SWSW moderators for doing what they need to do. Yours and Smoothswimmer’s comments and the group who down votes Bobo Gigi are a bunch of jerks. IF you need to play games, then start your own site. I love checking this site everyday to see the worlds swimming news. Your comments are mean and self serving. Bobo Gigi may be a swim nerd who really enjoys predicting future stars, but you and whoever else who has joined the anti-Bobo Gigi band wagon are not contributing in any way that is remotely entertaining or funny. It’s getting really OLD.

6 years ago

Doesn’t matter she doesn’t even have an Olympic medal right guys? Why does it matter if it’s a step into the right direction?

Biebs Gigs
Reply to  PACFAN
6 years ago

But..but.. Sippy Woodhead was already multiple world champions and WR holder by 14!!!!

6 years ago

Is Allie Raab the younger sister of Meaghan Raab?

Reply to  Elisabetta
6 years ago


6 years ago

Rye Ulett = Tristen Ulett’s sister 🙂

bobo gigi
6 years ago

Yesterday I wrote that Gretchen Walsh had to swim at olympic trials if she wanted to qualify for junior pan pacs. Olympic trials weirdly serves as qualifying meet for junior pan pacs instead of junior nationals. Strange idea.
And she did it! 25.96! Huge performance. A 0.6 s time drop!
At only 13 she’s now the 5th fastest 13/14 US girl ever in that event behind Missy Franklin (25.23), Lia Neal (25.38), Anya Goeders (25.52), Kate Douglass (25.60) and tied with Rachel Wittmer. Amanda Weird is 6th in 26.02 swum in 2000. Dara Torres is 9th in 26.04 back in 1982. Jenny Thompson is 11th in 26.09 back in 1987.
I don’t remember very well… Read more »

Reply to  bobo gigi
6 years ago

Amanda Weir*

Reply to  bobo gigi
6 years ago

Alex Walsh 62.13 doesn’t bode well with trials approaching. Like you, I’m a big fan.

Reply to  John
6 years ago

She may not be fully tapered for this meet. Since she has already qualified for OT, unlike Gretchen was, she is most likely training for OT.

Reply to  Deraj
6 years ago

Right Deraj, I’m sure she is still training will probably start taper close to the end of next week

Reply to  Hswimmer
6 years ago

I’m assuming that’s sarcasm…
I mean to say that she’s earlier in the taper/preparation process than Gretchen is.

Reply to  Deraj
6 years ago

It wasn’t

Attila the Hunt
Reply to  Hswimmer
6 years ago

If she has not yet started her taper, she won’t be fully tapered in Omaha.

Reply to  Attila the Hunt
6 years ago

She’s a 13 year old girl, they taper a lot shorter than like a college kid or pro

All Swimmers Matter
6 years ago

I’m shocked Bobo and Smooth haven’t claimed their stake on this amazing young lady.
Is smooth banned?

Reply to  All Swimmers Matter
6 years ago

Looks like the Smooth is serving a time out. With good behaviour he should be back for OT’s.

Reply to  Billabong
6 years ago


6 years ago


Gretchen Walsh will become a superstaaaarrrr!

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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