Gretchen Walsh Hops Over Manuel To Become 2nd Fastest 15-16 U.S. 100 Freestyler


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16-year-old Gretchen Walsh dipped under the 54-second threshold in the women’s freestyle for the first time in her young career en route to World Junior Championships gold.

After hitting a semi-final time of 54.25 last night to establish herself as the top swimmer in Budapest, the American fired off a monster new personal best mark of 53.74 to take the gold in the only sub-54 second outing of the entire field.

Walsh’s previous personal best entering this competition was the 54.13 she clocked at this summer’s U.S. Nationals. Flash forward to tonight’s swim, however, and the Nashville Aquatics Club star crushed that to pieces, winning the 100m free here in Budapest by .80. The next closest competitor was USA teammate Torri Huske who put up a super solid time of 54.54, just .02 off her own lifetime best. Australia’s Meg Harris touched in 54.58 for bronze.

Here is a comparison of Walsh’s 54.13 previous PB against her wicked-fast 53.74 from tonight:

25.83/28.30 = 54.13

25.57/28.17 = 53.74

With her swim, Walsh inches closer to Olympic icon Missy Franklin‘s National Age Record of 53.63 set back at the 2011 U.S. Nationals, now sitting just .11 away. But, Walsh did overtake Olympic champion in this event, Simone Manuel‘s PB from this age group of 53.86 that was ranked #2 behind Franklin.

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We might have the fourth member of our relay for next year!


And might even challenge for that 2nd individual spot.


Top American women over the last few years…

1. Simone Manuel – 52.04
2. Mallory Comerford – 52.94
3. Abbey Weitzeil – 53.18
4. Margo Geer – 53.44
**5. Gretchen Walsh – 53.74**
6. Lia Neal – 53.95
7. Kelsi Dahlia – 54.09
8. Erika Brown – 54.13

54.0 might not make the final at Trials next year.


Manuel, Comerford, Geer, Walsh/Brown for fourth spot or Huske could squeeze in


Hello? Have you heard of Abbey Weitzeil? SHE could challenge for second spot.


If she’s on…. it’ll be hard though


just admit you are wrong, everyone has to be on to make top 4 except Manuel. Weitzeil is easily a favorite for a relay spot


The four top swimmers in the women’s 100 m freestyle are named to the Olympic squad.


Ok oops? I never said I was right, I just missed her completely.



I predict Geer won’t qualify for the Olympic team.


She looked great at Nationals; looks to have found her form again.


the faster swimmer on the day will make the team, simple as that


> the faster swimmer on the day will make the team, simple as that

the fastest six even!


Watch for Natalie Hinds and Amy Tang (who just popped two 54.1 relay splits) as well.

Awsi Dooger

Comerford was actually 52.59 in an opening leg relay split at 2017 World Championships. But she hasn’t approached that time recently or in an individual race. Could be bad timing on both sides for Mallory. She wasn’t good enough in 2016. She definitely would have been second spot in the 100 if Olympics were held any year from 2017 to 2019. Then in 2020 she might be surpassed again. Walsh has more length and upside but it might be one year soon for her


USA Swimming
The Data Hub & General Information

U.S. and World Lists
2019 Top Performers
Gender: Women
Course: LCM
100 FR Women’s
Show Details
6th: Comerford – 52.98
9th: Weitzeil – 53.18 (personal best)

Lane 8

USA now has great depth in both men’s and women’s 100 freestyles.


Congratulations Gretchen! Job well done!

Philip Johnson

Going to see some veteran 100 free swimmers of the US not make the relay.


USA Swimming could use some fresh blood.


Most likely, Lia Neal unless she makes some coaching changes.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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