LIVEBARN Race of the Week: G. Walsh Leads Off 200 Medley Relay With 50 BK American Record

Gretchen Walsh had herself quite a weekend.

In front of a record-breaking 1,223 spectators at the AFC for Virginia’s ‘Superfinals’ dual meet versus Texas, the 20-year-old got the meet started with a bang. Leading off the 200 medley relay for the Cavaliers, Walsh blasted a 22.54 backstroke split. That swim breaks her own American record from the 2023 ACC Championships,

Courtesy: UVa Swimming (via Youtube) 

The swim puts her just two-hundredths behind Maggie MacNeil‘s U.S Open record of 22.52 from the 2023 SEC Championships–which is the fastest women’s 50 backstroke in history.

This Cavaliers’ relay is interesting for reasons beyond Walsh’s extraordinary split though. That’s because Walsh teamed up with her teammates Jasmine Nocentini (26.97), Alex Walsh (22.80), and Maxine Parker (22.01) for a final time of 1:34.32, improving the fastest time in the NCAA from their 1:35.89 against Florida.

It is also a hundredth faster than the Walsh sisters, Parker, and Kate Douglass swam at last season’s dual meet with Texas. But why does that matter?

Even though Virginia is still the overwhelming favorites for the national title in March, the Cavaliers still needed to figure out how they were going to fill in the gaps left by Douglass’s departure from college swimming. And actually on the 200 medley relay, they not only have to replace Douglass on freestyle but Lexi Cuomo on fly.  No one swimmer is going to replace Douglass, it’s going to be other swimmers–like Nocentini and Parker–stepping up that gets that job done for Virginia.

This 200 medley relay is one such example of those two swimmers doing just that. Walsh was clearly much faster this season, and that difference is what gives this relay the edge over last season’s relay as every other split was slower compared to 2022. However, that doesn’t mean the splits weren’t promising. Nocentini split 26.97 on breaststroke, It’s slower than she split against Florida (26.69), but overall Nocentini put together an excellent two-day meet that showed she’s doing well at Virginia.

A. Walsh threw down a 22.80 fly split. It’s a solid showing for her especially as she adjusts to being the butterflyer on the relay–and was a .45 second improvement from her split at the Virginia vs. Florida meet. Parker brought them home in a 22.01, also improving on her split from the Florida meet.



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5 months ago

Interesting that in this highly ranked meet there were no officials managing the 15m line…….

I miss the ISL
Reply to  StuartC
5 months ago

Oh please you can watch all the videos and see her head was up before 15 every time. You act like she never practices her underwaters in practice. She knows where 15 is.

Reply to  StuartC
5 months ago

You are incorrect. I was on the 15 for everything but the breastroke. I would move to the bulkhead or relay takeoffs as needed. Do your work before making claims like this. I work all of the UVA meets

Last edited 5 months ago by ewahoo
Reply to  StuartC
5 months ago

Bruh they call 15m violations at random local summer league meets…

5 months ago

USA swimmers compete short course yards, short course meters, and long course meters. We all know SC yards is unique to the USA and virtually all Americans know collegiate swimming is an exciting phase of the athletic careers of most USA swimmers. It’s special. It’s also all about short course yards.

Some swimmers excel at short course, some at long course, and some at both. They all work hard and they all race hard. When they swim fast and break records, we should celebrate their accomplishments and enjoy the moment with them. Special accomplishments deserve to be recognized for what they are – SPECIAL!!!

Let’s keep it fun and celebrate excellence. We all know the Olympic Games is the… Read more »

VA Steve
Reply to  Tigerswim22
5 months ago

Many, many international swimmers come to the USA to get educations and improve their swimming. They know how valuable the experience is and they are delighted to contribute to teams. It is okay with me that a select number of overactive commenters don’t get it or do get it and troll. Thanks to SS for recognizing the importance of all swimming.

Bobo Gigi
5 months ago

50 back in the bathtub is not swimming.
Olympics next year is in the adults’ pool.
Gretchen Walsh is amazing in the bathtub.
She’s so far in her career far from that level in the adults’ pool.
I hope she can change that in the next years until LA 2028.

Lisa Simpson
Reply to  Bobo Gigi
5 months ago

You may be onto something.

Gretchen Walsh is a year older than Mollie O’Callaghan.

She used to destroy MOC in Junior meets.

But while MOC has Olympics gold medals, numerous Worlds (LCM and SCM) golds, an amazing 200 free World Record and 5 relays world records, let’s just say Gretchen Walsh is waaay behind.

What happened?

Last edited 5 months ago by Lisa Simpson
VA Steve
Reply to  Lisa Simpson
5 months ago

Funny, let’s see how GW’s improvement curve works this coming year. Her job right now is SCY and UVA and she is killing it.

Reply to  VA Steve
5 months ago

She already went 24.3, 56.3 and 25.1 last summer in LCM. She’s doing great

VA Steve
Reply to  Bobo Gigi
5 months ago

Why are you so interested then in the articles? I could easily replay similar comments about LCM world champion Kate Douglass. The repeated instances of taking interest in events that you say are irrelevant classifies your inputs as trolling.

Old Swim Coach
Reply to  Bobo Gigi
5 months ago

USA has done pretty well with the “bathtub” as a training ground. On that day, she was a superstar and the best in the world at what she does. Her underwaters were incredible (understatement) and the times backed it up. I’ll be rooting for her in 2024 and beyond! By the way,I was there to root for UT but you’ve got to tip your hat to those swims.

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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