Gretchen Walsh Follows Up Relay Split With 22.26 NAG In 50 Free Heats


One day after blasting an absurd 21.0 relay split, 14-year-old Gretchen Walsh took home the top qualifying spot in the individual 50 free while breaking a 13-14 National Age Group (NAG) record.

Walsh was 22.26 this morning, cutting almost a half-second off her previous best time. That swim knocks down a NAG record that is just over a year old. Previously, it was held by Kate Douglass at 22.32 from November of 2016. Her NAG record was also swum in prelims. Prior to her swim, the old record had stood for 34 years, held by Dara Torres.

Now Walsh takes over the record, and has another shot tonight, both to lower the mark again and to further prove her 21.0 split. Based on typical reaction times for individual races compared to relay starts, Walsh could be expected to go as fast as 21-mid if her relay split was recorded accurately by the timing system last night.

Douglass herself was third this morning and will compete with Walsh tonight, along with Walsh’s older sister Alex. Those three are the top qualifiers into tonight’s finals in Knoxville.

Here’s a look at the new top 5 in 13-14 age group history:

  1. Gretchen Walsh, 2017 – 22.26
  2. Kate Douglass, 2016 – 22.32
  3. Dara Torres, 1982 – 22.44
  4. Missy Franklin, 2010 – 22.49
  5. Lia Neal, 2009/Emily Moreland, 2015/Torri Huske, 2017 – 22.62

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3 years ago

Would be great to see a video of Gretchen and Kate swimming the 50 free tonight.

Look whose times they beat: Dara, Missy, and Lia Neal – all Olympic medal winners.

Reply to  marklewis
3 years ago

We’ve been told that videos will ‘probably’ be posted after the end of the meet.

3 years ago

Can’t wait to see her race tonight and then translate into long course season!!

Steve Swims
3 years ago

I’m still claiming last night’s relay split was incorrect. If she only went a 22.26, there is no way she could have gone a 21.01 in the relay last night. That would mean her reaction time is 1.25 seconds, which is false.

B Money
Reply to  Steve Swims
3 years ago

Not only do you have the advantage of the takeover, you also have the hype of your teammates. Especially as an anchor leg where you can make a difference: Jason Lezak’s LC 100m PB was a 47.58 when he ripped a 46.06 at Beijing.

Reply to  Steve Swims
3 years ago

How? She’s been 25 LC and 22 multiple times, so a 21.0 RELAY split is very possible.

Reply to  Steve Swims
3 years ago

Don’t worry Steve. We’ll tell you when you’re older.

Reply to  Steve Swims
3 years ago

B Money, males usually benefit more from a relay start than females do.

Steve Swims, unless she was cruising this morning, I’m wondering if it was a timing error too.

Will she get to swim it on the 200 FRR?

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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