Gretchen Walsh Drops Fastest 100 Free Split in History; Nocentini Catches Fire

by Laura Rosado 24

November 17th, 2023 ACC, College, News, Records

2023 TENNESSEE INVITATIONAL

Unsurprisingly, the Virginia women ran away with the 400 free relay to close out the 2023 Tennessee Invitational. The defending NCAA champs and American and NCAA record holders blazed a 3:07.60 to lead 2nd place Tennessee by over six seconds. That’s 3.58 seconds faster than they were in this relay last season, where they also won in dominating fashion.

Jasmine Nocentini is the newcomer to this relay, replacing Kate Douglass on the lead-off leg. She stepped up to the occasion, dropping 1.01 seconds from her best time for a speedy 46.75. Though she scratched her individual events at this meet, Nocentini has proved herself to be a valuable asset to the Cavaliers’ relays. Nocentini is a transfer from Northwestern, where she didn’t finish the season due to a shoulder injury, and from Florida International University before that.

Even without Douglass, who decided not to use her fifth year of NCAA eligibility, the Virginia women look to be in a strong position to vie for their fourth straight national title. Douglass went three-for-three in individual races and was a key contributor in four of Virginia’s winning relays. Other programs might falter after losing their biggest star, but Virginia is chock full of them to the point where it doesn’t even seem to matter.

Maxine Parker (48.33) and Alex Walsh (47.34) were solid on the second and fourth legs, though they’ve both been faster. As a reminder, we’re only halfway through the season. Last year, Parker and Walsh were 49.19 and 47.70 on this relay respectively, dropping to 47.04 and 46.58 by NCAAs.

On the third leg, Gretchen Walsh blazed a 45.18 to establish the fastest rolling 100 yard free split in history, just surpassing Maggie Mac Neil’s 45.26 from the 2023 SEC Championships. The difference came in the front half, where she was out in 21.14 compared to Mac Neil’s 21.35. Mac Neil closed slightly faster in 23.91 to Walsh’s 24.04.

Fastest 100 Yard Freestyle Splits on Rolling Starts:

  1. 45.18 – Gretchen Walsh, Virginia, 2023 Tennessee Invitational
  2. 45.26 – Maggie Mac Neil, LSU, 2023 SEC Championships
  3. 45.45 – Simone Manuel, Stanford, 2015 NCAA Championships
  4. 45.47 – Simone Manuel, Stanford, 2018 NCAA Championships
  5. 45.65 – Taylor Ruck, Stanford, 2019 NCAA Championships
  6. 45.74 – Mallory Comerford, Louisville, 2018 NCAA Championships
  7. 45.77 – Abbey Weitzeil, Cal, 2020 Pac-12 Championships

That caps off a stellar meet for Gretchen Walsh, who earlier in the session swam the fastest 100 yard butterfly in history, though it won’t be ratified as an American or US Open record due to it being swam in the final of the 100 free.

In This Story

24
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of

24 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Flatlander
5 months ago

So fast. Definitely raising the bar. Can’t wait to see what she goes with a flat start and some rest later in the year.

Texas Invite
5 months ago

I disagree with the author saying losing Kate Douglas doesn’t even seem to matter. She was one of the greatest college swimmers of all time as a 60 point performer and the MVP of their relays. Virginia will still be favored in March but Kate will be missed greatly.

DK2023 Denise
5 months ago

Gretchen Walsh..probably an excellent time but yards don’t count in world records. Here in Australia it’s metres which is in line with the rest of the world….quite a difference in terms of distance. I suggest you stick to metres if you want the rest of the world to read your articles.

Sub13
Reply to  DK2023 Denise
5 months ago

I understand criticism if someone tries to say an SCY record is a world record or something… but you’ve gone out of your way to read an article about SCY just to say you don’t care about it and people won’t read it. That’s weird.

Pieter H
Reply to  Sub13
5 months ago

There was a person in earlier Tennessee invite prelims thread who said Gretchen Walsh would break 100 free LCM world record.

Some people just have no idea that LCM and SCY are almost two different sports.

jeff
Reply to  Pieter H
5 months ago

the comment was “If she does free in the swim-off and sets a record, does it count?”, which does not say that she would break a record, it’s asking if it would count if she did

Last edited 5 months ago by jeff
Pieter H
Reply to  jeff
5 months ago

Why asking for something that’s nearly impossible to happen?

It shows that they thought there’s probable chance Gretchen would break 100 free WR

It’s like asking “if Alex Walsh set 200 breast WR in the prelims, would it be ratified?”

jeff
Reply to  Pieter H
5 months ago

notice how it doesn’t even specify what kind of record

Bad Man
Reply to  Pieter H
5 months ago

Just take your L and move on.

Quamchowdah
Reply to  Pieter H
5 months ago

Yet the correlation in performance is high but somewhat variable. How many Olympic champs also won NCAA in yds? plenty

VA Steve
Reply to  Sub13
5 months ago

Reviewing the ROW comments against NCAA swimming SCY, there is a perfect correlation between participation in college swimming by their nationals and their claims that it is a different sport and/or irrelevant. You don’t see the French commenters saying how irrelevant Marchand’s swims are nor do you see Italian commenters say what a waste of time it is tracking Nocentini. I think they realize, as USA commenters do, that SCY is exciting, worth following, and more often than not translates to success in LCM. Oh, how I remember the KD critiques. I look forward to the follow-up crow eating with Gretchen.

LBSWIM
Reply to  DK2023 Denise
5 months ago

Cool story, bro.

Campbell’s Chokin’ Noodle
Reply to  DK2023 Denise
5 months ago

Aussies like to bark after having a nice WC meet. We’ll see what happens next summer. You’ve already given the US team plenty of motivational material for the bulletin board. But by all means, do continue…

Texas Invite
Reply to  Campbell’s Chokin’ Noodle
5 months ago

Unfortunately, Australia has earned the right to bark a bit.

Personal Best
Reply to  DK2023 Denise
5 months ago

Um… you suggest swimswam reports on scy competition but convert the distances to metres in their articles, or… you suggest the competition organisers stick to metres so people would read swimswam, or… you suggest swimswam only cover meets that are swim in metres… or… you suggest that swimswam just write ‘metres’ even if the event is swum in yard… or… ???

What on earth are you suggesting?

Seems like there are a few suggestions you could take heed of.

Quamchowdah
Reply to  DK2023 Denise
5 months ago

Grumplestiltskin over here, mate. Many of the worlds top LCM swimmers competing in a different course and it’s irrelevant? Nah. Certainly, it’s discounted in weight or impact but still newsworthy IMO

Joel Lin
5 months ago

Reckless prediction:

Claire Curzan will drop down into the 57s in the 100 back & into the 55s in the 100 fly at the US Open.

This Lady Hoos sprint group is 🔥 now.

Pieter H
Reply to  Joel Lin
5 months ago

Claire Curzan will break both 100 back and 100 free WR at the US Open.

Pescatarian
Reply to  Pieter H
5 months ago

UVA alums looking in the mirror too much.

Bad Man
Reply to  Pescatarian
5 months ago

Pieter H is not a UVA alum

ScottyJ 2.0, LLC
5 months ago

Simone’s anchor in 2015 was absolutely legendary

Buckeyeboy
Reply to  ScottyJ 2.0, LLC
5 months ago

Yes, yes it was. Believe she ran down UVA in the 400 Medley at NCAAs didn’t she?

iLikePsych
Reply to  Buckeyeboy
5 months ago

To win by 0.01

bevo’s horns
Reply to  iLikePsych
5 months ago

She had a gift of always being able to get her hand on the wall first! Hope to see her race like that again