Gretchen Walsh on Winter Training: “Some of the best training I’ve had my whole life”

2024 PRO SWIM SERIES – KNOXVILLE

Virginia Junior Gretchen Walsh has already had a stellar start to her 3rd NCAA season and it looks to keep Improving from here. Walsh said her winter training cycle was the best training she’s had in her life, noting that she went 48 in the 100 back and 46 in the 100 free during some of those workouts.

Walsh is the defending NCAA champion in both the 100 back and 100 free and the defending runner-up in the 50 free. Walsh makes it clear that she is aiming for a clean sweep in those 3 events at the 2024 NCAA Championships.

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Hoo Fan
4 months ago

1st ever comment: Have watched Gretchen at UVA … she has a bubbly JOY every meet … is a cheering LEADER for her fellow Hoo’s & seems a designated “V” marker for her teammates. An amazing talent, and based on videos, a very hard trainer … like sister Alex & Kate D (and other Hoo’s), Gretchen will continue to improve & gain confidence in LCM, and will be a treaured USA talent as long as her passion allows ! Just enjoy her unique talents!

jeff
4 months ago

Who’s even left in any of her primary 4 events? MacNeil, Douglass, Huske, Curzan are all out (for at least this season). Berkoff is still here but besides her, there’s no one else who has broken 50 in either back or fly, while Gretchen could conceivably break 48

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
Reply to  jeff
4 months ago

Second place in the 50 could be her teammate, Jasmine.

swimgeek
4 months ago

Wait what? She’s going :48 backstroke swims from a push? Multiple times?? Only 2 women in history have gone :48. Berkoff has done it once at 48.8. Maybe your headline should be something like “Walsh goes faster than any other swimmer in history — in practice from a push!”

Tanner
Reply to  swimgeek
4 months ago

Absolutely no way she hit 48 from a push

swimgeek
Reply to  Tanner
4 months ago

I don’t care if it’s off by a full second – :49-anything would still be mind-blowing.

Coach
Reply to  Tanner
4 months ago

On Desorbo’s watch anything is possible.

swimgeek
Reply to  Coach
4 months ago

Video would be nice.

Jonathan
4 months ago

Gretchen Walsh has superstar potential if she can figure out how to swim her best when it counts. I hope she does this summer.

swimgeek
Reply to  Jonathan
4 months ago

I’d say NCAAs is a meet “that counts” and she was phenomenal last March. She was really good at World Trials last year. Not so good at Worlds – I think she struggled with the 3-week turnaround like many members of Team USA.

RealSlimThomas
Reply to  swimgeek
4 months ago

I hate to be negative, but you’re ignoring the two or three years prior where she couldn’t swim her best when it mattered. DeSorbo had her swimming at national meets in a non-tech suit because of it.

swimgeek
Reply to  RealSlimThomas
4 months ago

We’re all aware that Trials 2021 was rough for GW. She then had a tremendous freshman year in yards — and then World Trials 2022 was also sub-par, and she still had never made a senior international meet (after that was the summer where Todd had her not wearing a tech suit). She then had an even BETTER yards season sophomore year ending with a stellar 2023 NCAAs — and backed it up with a strong Worlds Trials in 2023. She has swum very fast at a number of meets “that matter” in the last year. I like her chances for 2024.

Jonathan
Reply to  swimgeek
4 months ago

I hope you’re right about that.

tea rex
Reply to  RealSlimThomas
4 months ago

She’s had disappointing championships before, but hard to deny she’s lighting it up lately.
Makes it easy to ignore some missed tapers in her teens (she’s only 20!)

Antipodean
Reply to  RealSlimThomas
4 months ago

Humans are not machines. It’s all a learning process, and a complex one, physically and psychologically. GW was probably more aware of this than anybody. Let’s not be negative.

Jonathan
Reply to  swimgeek
4 months ago

NCAAs do count but they’re not nearly the same level as LC Worlds or Olympics.

Bill Lumberg
Reply to  Jonathan
4 months ago

I don’t even like them talking about NCAA’s during an Olympic year, especially when you have multiple swimmers on your roster that will most likely make the team. The girls beat Virgina tech during that Nashville meet when their superstars were absent. Focus on the long pool this year.

swimgeek
Reply to  Bill Lumberg
4 months ago

They can walk and chew gum at the same time.
And they’re training AND racing a lot of LC this year. Summer 2021, 22, 23 — Douglass and A.Walsh had big NCAAs in March and swam really fast in summer too. Some Olympic swimmers have talked about how the college season is a welcome distraction from the building pressure of a looming OLY Trials. Even Douglass this year – who passed on another NCAA season – said she purposely went straight into a masters degree program (in statistics no less) so that she would NOT have 100% of her life devoted to swimming this year. Gretchen Walsh swims ridiculously fast in September, in January – it doesn’t matter the… Read more »

Eli
4 months ago

20.58 50 free, 45.42 100 free, 47.76 100 back. Relay splits of 19.96, 44.82, and 22.47 back

Winter Apple
Reply to  Eli
4 months ago

We wish

swimgeek
Reply to  Winter Apple
4 months ago

What’s crazy is those times are not all that crazy! 0.2 drop 50 FR, 0.2 drop 100 FR, 0.5 drop 100 BK, 0.1 drop 50 back. Those are completely plausible. The freestyle relay splits more aggressive — and GW is not known for big drops with a relay start. 44.82 on the last race of a 4-day meet — I’ll agree that’s not happening.

Swimfan27
Reply to  Eli
4 months ago

Those are all pretty feasible for her.

Bruh
Reply to  Eli
2 months ago

This aged like fine wine.

Bill Lumberg
4 months ago

I always wonder what they do during such a critical year. They’re college students. Do they have strict diets? Do they party once a week to blow off steam or do they wait until NCAA’s is over to have a drink? I’ve never been around such high level athletes so I wouldn’t know.

I miss the ISL
Reply to  Bill Lumberg
4 months ago

They definitely have their fun on the weekends…lol
Gretchen and especially Alex don’t post that much on instagram but Kate used to a bunch and you can see that they definitely know how to have a swim-social life balance

Random123
Reply to  Bill Lumberg
4 months ago

Depends on the program, but most will probably have “dry season” during this time which means no drinking at all and the team is supposed to hold each other accountable. Some programs may even be “dry” for the full season, but not sure how prevalent that is.

RealSlimThomas
Reply to  Random123
4 months ago

I think it’s most common for teams to have dry season from New Years Day through to the end of the championship season.

Eli
Reply to  Bill Lumberg
4 months ago

Have you seen Kate’s instagram? She has a drink in literally almost every post

RealSlimThomas
Reply to  Eli
4 months ago

Seriously? There are two pictures in her last nine posts.

Bill Lumberg
Reply to  Eli
4 months ago

I’ve seen her IG. A drink is a drink. No biggie. Getting piss drunk is another matter, lol.

Admin
Reply to  Eli
4 months ago

That’s literally almost not true.

Sherry Smit
Reply to  Eli
4 months ago

Let me ask you a question: Do you think a 22 year old college student doesn’t deserve to have some fun and have a few drinks every once and a while, just cause she’s an olympian and one of the best swimmers in the world? Balance is key, and if anything’s Kate is just showing how balanced her life is.

TNM
Reply to  Bill Lumberg
4 months ago

I swam at a mid-tier D3 program. The policies were (1) No drinks 24 hours before practice, which made Saturday the only day we could drink. (2) Keep the drinking to a moderation. No vomiting or blackouts. (3) No drinking 4 weeks before taper meets (mid-season meet, conference champ, and NCAAs)

Bill Lumberg
Reply to  TNM
4 months ago

same situation for me but we had no policy. D3 swimmer but this was in the early 2000’s and my coach was not very good.

Flippin Birds
Reply to  Bill Lumberg
4 months ago

At a top D3 swimming school we were dry from Halloween until our championship meet in Feb or March.

Willswim
Reply to  Flippin Birds
4 months ago

At my D3 program in the late 90s we would make a pact at the beginning of every year to make this our best year ever and stay dry the entire season. If I remember correctly, I think one year we made it an entire week before we were all drunk at a party together.

AustralianSwimming
Reply to  Willswim
4 months ago

Sounds about right XD

Bill Lumberg
4 months ago

48 from a push? Not a time trial? A push? I like Gretchen and shes obvi incredible, but that sounds like Todd was being a little over aggressive with the stopwatch.

I miss the ISL
Reply to  Bill Lumberg
4 months ago

I wouldn’t doubt it. Todd definitely is trigger-happy with his watch but even if she realistically was going 49s from a push…that’s still impressive as hell

Greg
Reply to  I miss the ISL
4 months ago

typically a coach will start their watch on push intervals from when the swimmers’ feet leave the wall, removing the .6 to .8 reaction time (but they don’t get the momentum from a real backstroke start). Regardless, whether it’s 48 or 49 still mind-boggling for practice times. Only a few collegiates could do that for freestyle currently, let alone backstroke.

oxyswim
Reply to  Greg
4 months ago

Todd starts his watch when their feet cross the T. He’s got the fastest watch in the country.

Willswim
4 months ago

I can’t wait to see what she does in March! What times do you think Gretchen would need to go at NCAAs to put her performance ahead of 2023 Douglass, 2023 Marchand, 2018 Dressel, and 2002 Coughlin as the most dominant NCAAs of this century?

Sorin
Reply to  Willswim
4 months ago

20.3 50 Free, 47.5 100 back and 44.9 100 free would put her on par with those other performances imo just in terms of distancing herself from the top performers in history and rewriting what we think is possible.

iLikePsych
Reply to  Willswim
4 months ago

Nerdy answer incoming, but if any other swimmer had the times she’s put up so far this season, I think 20.low-mid, 47 fly or back, and 45.0 would all be reasonable if not expected.

But looking at those other 4, they each have the distinction of their margin ahead of the next fastest at the time in one or more events:
Douglass (200 BR): 2:01.29 vs. 2:02.60 (Lilly King) – 1.1%
Douglass (200 IM): 1:48.37 vs 1:50.06 (Huske) – 1.5%
Marchand (200 IM): 1:36.34 vs. 1:38.10 (Lasco) – 1.8%
Marchand (400 IM): 3:28.82 vs. 3:32.88 (Gonzalez) – 1.9%
Dressel (50 FR): 17.63 vs 18.47 (Cielo) – 4.5%
Dressel (100 FR): 39.99 vs. 40.76 (Morozov)… Read more »

Willswim
Reply to  iLikePsych
4 months ago

Wow thanks for crunching the numbers! Looks like she can really challenge the two swimmers from 2023, but the over 4% margins by Dressel and Coughlin are probably out of reach.

JimSwim22
Reply to  iLikePsych
4 months ago

How many records did Coughlin set that year? I know she got the 2Fl at a random dual meet and the 1Fr leading off the relay.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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