Gretchen Walsh Swims 1:40.23 Lead Off On 800 Freestyle Relay For Virginia, #3 All-Time

2024 ACC SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

WOMEN’S 800 FREE RELAY – TIMED FINALS

  • NCAA Record: 6:45.91, Stanford – 2017 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Record: 6:49.82, Virginia – 2023 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Championship Record: 6:53.27, Virginia (2022)
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 7:00.86

Top 8:

  1. Virginia – 6:46.28 (A)
  2. Louisville – 7:00.31 (A)
  3. NC State – 7:04.16
  4. UNC – 7:04.31
  5. Miami (FL) – 7:04.79
  6. Virginia Tech – 7:05.01
  7. Duke – 7:06.32
  8. FSU – 7:08.51

Gretchen Walsh led off Virginia’s 800 freestyle relay in a 1:40.23, the third-fastest swim of all-time. That was also the fastest swim in six years as Mallory Comerford swam a 1:39.80 at 2018 NCAAs.

ALL-TIME TOP 200 FREESTYLE PERFORMERS 

  1. Missy Franklin 1:39.10 (2015)
  2. Mallory Comerford 1:39.80 (2018)
  3. Gretchen Walsh 1:40.23 (2024)
  4. Katie Ledecky 1:40.36 (2017)
  5. Simone Manuel (2017) & Taylor Ruck (2019) 1:40.37

Walsh came into the meet with a best time of a 1:41.32 which she swam in November 2023 at mid-seasons. Walsh was out fast and got out to the lead right off the bat. No other lead off swimmer swam under the 1:45 mark. Walsh notably flipped at the 100 mark splitting a 47.15.

Although a 47.15 (to the feet) is not a historic swim as far as a 100 freestyle goes, it is still a time that should not be downplayed. It would currently sit at the #3 time in the NCAA this season only behind Walsh’s own best (46.40) as well as teammate Jasmine Nocentini who swam a 46.75. Katharine Berkoff of NC State has the 3rd fastest time in the NCAA this season with a 47.18.

Walsh will not compete in the individual 200 freestyle later in the meet as she is instead entered in the 50 free, 100 free, 100 fly, and 100 back.

Virginia’s relay of Gretchen Walsh, Alex Walsh, Aimee Canny, and Ella Nelson went on to set an ACC record swimming a 6:46.28. That broke the team’s own ACC record of a 6:49.82 that they set just last year.

Race Video

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PCB
1 month ago

How is no one talking about just how close this was to the NCAA record? The historic record?! Great swim ladies!

Yikes
Reply to  PCB
1 month ago

Check out the ACC recap

mds
Reply to  PCB
1 month ago

Mostly because it wasn’t that close (1.13 seconds back) to Missy’s best ever performance, which has stood up much better than what I thought was her equivalent long course best, London 200 Back.

Josh Graham
1 month ago

Out 22.2 to the feet flat start = 19.93 rolling start for her in the 50. Get ready for history, folks!

Pescatarian
1 month ago

It’s hard to believe only two women have broken 1:40. And the two who did so never broke 1:55 LCM. Odd.

Admin
Reply to  Pescatarian
1 month ago

Missy went 1:54.81 in LCM.

Troyy
1 month ago

So what’s Gretchen gonna go in the long course 100 with this new found endurance? Seems she might be favourite to finish top 2 at trials.

Observer
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

That’s not endurance my friend – she went out 22.2…

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

I’m sure she’ll improve but

1. Who’s to say she wouldn’t have been fast in the 200 prior to this year
2. She’s still spending a ton of time UW in the 200 SCY
3. The 100 stroke is different than the 200 stroke

I hope she can go 52+ and this seems like a good sign.

Sherry Smit
1 month ago

In all my years of following competitive swimming, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a swimmer go out 22 in the 200 free.

History
Reply to  Sherry Smit
1 month ago

Franklin 2014: 22.98/24.76/25.17/26.19 = 1:39.10

swimgeek
1 month ago

Agreed that 6 sec is a big disparity — and GW probably overswam the 1st 50. That said, Missy was also winning the *500 free* at that meet. Her training program at that time looked nothing like Walsh’s – they’re not going to swim the race the same way.

oldnotdead
Reply to  swimgeek
1 month ago

Missy never won the 500 at NCAAs – she finished 2nd to Brittany McLean in 2014 (4:32.53 to 4:32.66). Also at that meet, she won the 200 Free (1:40.31AR) and finished 3rd in the 100 Free (47.26). At the 2015 meet, Missy won the 200 IM (1:52.11), 200 Free (1:39.10AR), and 200 Back (1:47.91).

swimgeek
Reply to  oldnotdead
1 month ago

Dang – I was trying to remember if she won the 500, and I was too lazy to fact-check myself! Thanks for the correction.

Troyy
Reply to  swimgeek
1 month ago

A certain commenter will be titillated by the way she paced this swim.

Last edited 1 month ago by Troyy
Kono
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

Looks like she spent the back half in a stats class

Pan Fan
Reply to  Kono
1 month ago

😆

oldnotdead
1 month ago

47.15 and 53.08 – fantastic overall time, but the first 100 seems a bit too aggressive. It’s not often you see 6 second discrepancies between 100s in a 200 event. I think Missy was 47.6 and 51 low. Maybe she’ll do it again at NCAAs and get under 1:40 and challenge the 1:39.10 from Missy.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  oldnotdead
1 month ago

Meh, doesn’t matter how it’s done, so long as the entire distance is covered faster than others.

Jonathankkh
Reply to  oldnotdead
1 month ago

She is a typical fly and die kinda swimmer like she just doesn’t have the backhalf speed, which is why she is very vulnerable when it comes down to the last 15-20 meters in LCM races.

Pan Fan
Reply to  Jonathankkh
1 month ago

We saw it when she led off 4×100 free in Fukuoka.

Swimmer
1 month ago

BIG GRETCH

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 and 2023 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Economics and a minor in Government & Law at …

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