RACE VIDEO: Gretchen Walsh Splits 19.95 in the 50 Free, First Woman to Break 20 Seconds🤯


Day 2 Finals Recap

Gretchen Walsh is now the first woman to swim under 20 seconds in the 50-yard free, contributing to the NCAA/ACC conference records and title-winning 200 free relay with a blazing 19.95 all-time fastest 50 free relay split. She swam six strokes on the first 25, then punched seven strokes down the homestretch, totaling 13 strokes to nail 19.95.

The sprint star swam second leg on UVA’s women’s 200 free relay to aid their winning time of 1:23.63, the fastest 50 free relay split in history. The only other ACC woman to break just 21 seconds in the 2024 conference final was UVA third leg and sister Alex Walsh, splitting 20.82.

This comes hours after her ACC/NCAA/American record during the individual 50 free event prelims.

G.Walsh now crushes 0.24s off her previous all-time relay split of 20.19 from an unsuited UVA/NCS/UNC meet last month to smash the entire 20-second barrier.

As of today, February 21st, 2024, it took four years, two months, and 15 days after Abbey Weitzeil‘s first female sub-21 50 free split from December 5th, 2019 for another woman to break the next barrier: 20 seconds. G.Walsh now owns four of the top 10 fastest relay split performance in history.

All-Time Women’s 50 Free Relay Split Performances (Flying)

  1. Gretchen Walsh, 19.95 (2024)**
  2. Gretchen Walsh, UVA, 20.19 (2024)
  3. Anna Hopkin, ARK, 20.27 (2020)
  4. Kate Douglass, UVA, 20.34 (2023)
  5. Gretchen Walsh, UVA, 20.36 (2023)
  6. Katharine Berkoff, NCS, 20.40 (2024)
  7. Maggie MacNeil, LSU, 20.44 (2023)
  8. Abbey Weitzeil/Simone Manuel, CAL, 20.45 (2019/2018)
  9. Gretchen Walsh, UVA, 20.48 (2023)


*1:18 mark in the video is when the crowd reacts*

G.Walsh is seeded first into tonight’s 50 free finals with her lone sub-21 prelims seed of 20.77. Relay lead-off Jasmine Nocentini is seeded second (21.30) while relay anchor Maxine Parker is 7th seed (21.81). That’s three Cavalier women up in the 50 free A-final.

Originally reported by Robert Gibbs.


  • NCAA Record: 1:23.87, Virginia – 2023
  • ACC Record: 1:23.87, Virginia – 2023
  • ACC Championship Record: 1:23.87, Virginia – 2023
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:28.43

Top 8:

  1. Virginia – 1:23.63
  2. Louisville – 1:25.39
  3. NC State – 1:26.24
  4. Duke – 1:28.62
  5. Pitt – 1:29.09
  6. Virginia Tech – 1:29.18
  7. UNC – 1:29.21
  8. Notre Dame – 1:29.56

The Cavalier women shaved 0.24s off of their own American, NCAA, and US Open Record with a 1:23.63 to kick off the night. Jasmine Nocentini led off in 21.55, a bit slower than her time in the indivudal 50 this morning. Gretchen Walsh jumped in, and there was an audible gasp from the crowd as the scoreboard registered her touch, 19.95, making her the first woman ever to go under 20 seconds. Her sister Alex Walsh followed with a 20.82, and Maxine Parker anchored in 21.31.

Louisville took 2nd in 1:25.39 with a quartet of 21s: Gabi Albiero led off in 21.81, Christina Regeanuer (21.05) and Julia Dennis (21.07) had nearly-identical splits, and Ella Welch anchored in 21.45.

Katharine Berkoff put NC State in the lead early with a 21.14 leadoff, followed by Abby Arens (21.60), Meghan Donald (21.89), and Miriam Sheehan (21.61), good for 1:26.24 total

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1 month ago

Sub 20. Barely. *yawn*

1 month ago

I hope there is a better video out there!

1 month ago

The turn and acceleration when she came up was spectacular.

There’s no one else close to 19.9. She’s in a class by herself.

Last edited 1 month ago by JohnCena
1 month ago

what zoomer is putting emojis in the headlines now lmao

Reply to  dmjab13
1 month ago

GenZ King

1 month ago

her underwaters are so good. dressel level. holy crap man

1 month ago

Listen to how great the PA announcer is compared to the ESPN commentators. He had the split in real time & knew the record going down. Meanwhile, AVD & whoever the guy was still didn’t know about the 19.95 2 hours later.

ACC fan
Reply to  DG5301
1 month ago

I’m stunned at how little AVD actually knows about swimming

1 month ago

Virginia could not shave any time from their American record with Italian swimming leadoff leg

Reply to  Tomek
1 month ago

Ok. No American Record; instead we have a(n):

NCAA ‘A’ cut
Virginia School Record
ACC Championship Meet record
ACC record
NCAA Record
Fastest swim in history with the fastest, barrier breaking, split in history

I’d rather talk about what they ‘could’ do rather than what they could not

And the Cavaliers did this after losing a leg from the relay who just set an American record (Kate D. IS an American) in winning Silver in the LCM 50 Freestyle at the World Championships.

Virginia ladies got it rolling.

Reply to  mds
1 month ago

I forgot: Greensboro Aquatic Center (GAC) pool record, as well.

Reply to  mds
1 month ago

Gee. I just can’t give this swim proper credit. I left out:

US Open Record.

mind BLOWN
1 month ago


(I’m normally a silent reader but this is too crazy to stay quiet)

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick has had the passion for swimming since his first dive in the water in middle school, immediately falling for breaststroke. Nick had expanded to IM events in his late teens, helping foster a short, but memorable NCAA Div III swim experience at Calvin University. While working on his B.A. …

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