Gretchen Walsh Goes 54.38, Fastest 15-Year-Old 100 FR In U.S. History


15-year-old Gretchen Walsh continues to impress, putting up the fastest time ever by an American 15-year-old in the 100 meter free.

Walsh qualified 6th in prelims of Nationals this morning, going 54.38. That time stands up as the third-fastest ever in the 15-16 age group among Americans and is faster than any other American has been at age 15.

There’s a slight caveat on that: Missy Franklin was actually faster at age 14 (54.03), but only went 54.93 at age 15. Walsh now only trails Franklin and Olympic champ Simone Manuel in the all-time 15-16 ranks, per USA Swimming. That’s not bad company to keep.

Top 15-16s All-Time, 100 Free

  1. Missy Franklin, 53.63
  2. Simone Manuel, 53.86
  3. Gretchen Walsh, 54.38
  4. Amy Bilquist, 54.85
  5. Lia Neal, 54.90

With an A final spot tonight, Walsh should be all-but-guaranteed a spot at Junior Pan Pacs, though she could actually make senior Pan Pacs if she can move into the top 3 or 4. Currently a rising high school sophomore, Walsh could also be in the mix for a World Championships or Pan American Games spot tonight.

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Great. Two months ago i wrote an apparently hyperbolic assertion on an Italian forum (Gretchen Walsh is a sort of “female Popov” as stroke efficiency, and she will do fantastic things come Tokyo2020).
Now that assertion looks a bit less hyperbolic

Mr G

Isn’t Nikol the female Popov?


53 tonight Gretchen come on you got this!!


Top four would be awesome!


What a Talent she is !!!! Usa has no worries for its sprint future …..


To make predictions for the 15 years old is the last thing I would do. Look at the list of best swimmers shown in this article. Only Simone Manuel has progressed to the world class level. Franklin has improved by less than 0.3sec. And Neal with Bilquist are not a factor in major competitions.


Lia Neal is a two time Olympian? How is that not a major factor?


I’m talking about personal bests. Sorry, if it wasn’t clear. I don’t tell that such and such girl from this list is a bad swimmer. I’m telling that expectations of possible progress can be over optimistic if they are based on the exceptional results shown at the age of 15.


You have zero credibility when it comes to personal bests.


You are getting repeating yourself. Something like Chinese spy pretending to be Putin’s secret agent would be more impressive and entertaining.


Lia Neal’s personal best now is almost 1.5 seconds faster than that. You cannot tell me that isn’t progression.


You are losing the point of discussion. My original comment (forget about teasing of BAKER-KING-WORRELL-MANUEL) was a response to ERVINFORTHEWIN who wrote ” Usa has no worries for its sprint future …”. If Walsh improves by 1 sec swimming at the top of her career 53.3 will you agree with ERVINFORTHEWIN’s statement? She has to improve by almost two seconds to fulfill this hope. What makes you sure she will? Just because she is 15 now?

Becky D

Well, aren’t you a little ray of sunshine, YOZHIK.


I wish 😀


The correct term is troll.


Dear BECKY D, whenever you have personal questions about me ask them direcktly BAKER-KING-WORRELL-MANUEL. She knows everything about me. I guarantee you will be more than satisfied. You have so much in common. Good luck.


I responded to Becky D. Stay out of my conversations.

Hey guys, calm down. Fast swimming today, let’s all be happy.


Thank you.


All you ever do is talk about junior female freestylers…and now he can’t make a prediction?


Everybody can make a prediction. It’s not a big deal. The question is how accurate it is.
If the picture of Gretchen Walsh in this article is the most recent one, then I can predict that she will definitely gain some weight. Will it help her in swimming or vice versa I can’t predict. Sorry for disappointing you.


I’m not talking about the accuracy of predictions. I’m talking about the hypocrisy of you pretty much solely talking about junior female freestylers and then saying “to make predictions of the 15 year olds is the last thing I’d do” to others.


This is the same individual who was gleefully predicting the demise of one Katie Ledecky!


I never make long term prediction especially when intense physical development is in process. Short term extrapolation is a pretty much accurate approach.


fairly certain thats the trials pool – so when she was 13.


You have already voted down on this comment.


Walsh, Gretchen – freestyle (check)
Smith, Regan – backstroke (check)

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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