Gretchen Walsh, Kieran Smith Named High Point Award Winners at US Nationals

2022 PHILLIPS 66 US NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Virginia swimmer Gretchen Walsh and Florida Gator Kieran Smith have been named the female and male high point award winners for the 2022 US National Championships.

Walsh, who competed under her club team Nashville Aquatic Club, scored a total of 68 points across 4 events. Likewise, Smith also scored 68 points across 5 events representing his club team Ridgefield Aquatic Club. 

Over the course of the week in Irvine, Walsh raced the 50 free, 100 free, 100 back, and 100 butterfly, winning the National Title in the latter of the four events with her time of 57.44. She also earned runner-up finishes in both the 50 freestyle (24.47) and 100 freestyle (53.86), while finishing 5th in the 100 backstroke (1:00.03). Notably, this meet served as a “redemption” meet for Walsh, who failed to qualify for the 2022 US World Championships team and the 2021 Olympic Team after entering a favorite to make both teams. Citing her mental strategy, Walsh’s Virginia coach Todd DeSorbo had her wearing a practice suit through the prelims of the 100 freestyle, not allowing her to race in a tech suit until she hit a predetermined time standard. Based off of the fact that she raced in a tech suit for the 100 freestyle final and throughout the remainder of the weekend, Walsh’s prelims time of 54.77 presumptively hit the standard. 

Smith did not win any individual National Championship titles, but had several high finishes at the meet. His highest finish came in the 200 freestyle, where he finished 2nd in a time of 1:46.32, only coming behind Champion Luke Hobson (1:46.14). Smith also finished 3rd in the 400 freestyle (3:48.48), 3rd in the 400 IM (4:14.04), 6th in the 100 freestyle (48.91), and 11th in the 800 freestyle (8:02.63). For Smith, this was his second major meet this summer after representing the US at the 2022 World Championships, where he won a gold medal as a member of the men’s 4×200 freestyle relay. 

 

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Bevo
3 months ago

Did we have team champions and combined champions at the Club level?

Swimpop
3 months ago

Isn’t high point something one earns, not named, its not like.its a vote.

Coach Tom
Reply to  Swimpop
3 months ago

Yeah I thought that was odd wording too.

Also why does USA swimming allow athletes to represent their club teams (ostensibly for the purpose of club excellence awards) even if they are training primarily with their college team and being coached by their college coach? That quote from Walsh make it seem like she was being coached by Todd DeSorbo during the meet, yet her club team gets the points for the club excellence standings? How does that work?

Thomas
Reply to  Coach Tom
3 months ago

I support it. Giving credit where credit is due, DeSorbo is training her but her club team made her who she is right now.

Coach Tom
Reply to  Thomas
3 months ago

The club got the credit back when the swimmer was actually training with the club. Why should they continue to get the credit when the swimmer is primarily training with a college program? If the swimmer is training with their club team primarily during the off-season, fine, but if it’s a situation where the swimmer is still primarily training with the college team, then it doesn’t seem right to me.

Then again, I don’t really have a strong opinion on it either way, so I can’t rightly expect USA Swimming to.

Admin
Reply to  Coach Tom
3 months ago

This ultimately demonstrates what drives the economy of “swimming.” Right now, the money and financial value exists in clubs registering swimmers. This is sort of an old school mindset, college/pro coaches schmooz with the local club coaches this way, because the money is in the club coaches using it as a way to attract more swimmers, which again, is where the money is. NCAP is worth more as a business entity than the entire International Swimming League or Pro Swim Series, probably combined.

The shift in this tradition will represent a shift in the commercial incentives of the sport.

It’s a bit of a chicken-or-egg thing, do we shift the commercial balance and drive away these old school traditions? Or… Read more »

Chest Rockwell
Reply to  Coach Tom
3 months ago

Someone fact check me on this, but I think Club Excellence is limited to 18/u swimmers, so while GW wears a NAC cap, I’m not sure there is anything besides marketing in it for them.

Coach Tom
Reply to  Chest Rockwell
3 months ago

Just double-checked and you’re 100% right. Good call.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
3 months ago

Erin Gemmell’s point total, please?

MCH
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
3 months ago

63 according to meet mobile.
Ledecky 60.

HOO love
3 months ago

GO GRETCHEN! ✌🏼

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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