On Tuesday, Tennessee confirmed to SwimSwam that Ellen Walshe‘s status for the spring semester of the 2022-23 NCAA season is still to be determined.
“Walshe continues to be monitored by medical professionals in Ireland, and it will be a couple more weeks before we know whether or not she will be able to return and compete for the spring semester,” Tennessee said in a statement.
While the school couldn’t comment directly on the nature of Walshe’s medical condition, SwimSwam has learned that she has been suffering from chronic fatigue since last year’s SEC Championship meet.
In fall 2022, SwimSwam reported that Walshe would be staying in her home country of Ireland and taking classes online for the fall semester, and that she planned to return in the winter. This move came after she was pre-selected to Ireland’s 2022 World and European championship squads, but declined to take her spot at both meets.
Last season, at the 2022 SEC Championships, Walshe won three titles in the 100 fly (50.34), 200 IM (1:52.97), and 400 IM (4:01.53). This performance led her to being named the 2022 SEC Co-Swimmer of the year alongside Alabama’s Morgan Scott. Walshe was seeded highly in all of her individuals at NCAAs but ended up being well off her best times, placing 8th in the 100 fly (51.42), 16th in the 200 IM (1;56.89), and 8th in the 400 IM (4:09.84). In all three of her NCAA races, she was faster in prelims than she was in finals.
Notably, Walshe raced the 400 IM and 100 fly back-to-back in the same session at both SECs and NCAAs last year.
Despite adding time, Walshe still racked up 23 individual points and was Tennessee’s highest point scorer at 2022 NCAAs.
Since NCAAs, Walshe has competed at the San Antonio TYR Pro Series in March 2022, two Mare Nostrum stops in May 2022, and the Irish Short Course Championships in December 2022. At Irish Short Course champs, she won the 50 fly (25.90) and 100 IM (59.87), setting personal bests in both events.
The Tennessee women, who are the defending SEC champions, have two more dual meets left on January 19 and 21 before they head off to compete at the 2023 SEC Championships beginning in just over a month on February 14.
Very one knows you don’t rush back or pressure a swimmer with this diagnosis. Time to shut it down
From my understanding, there is no cut and dry cure and there is quite a bit of luck in recovering from chronic fatigue syndrome. I hope Ellen can recover, she has such a bright future.
Tennessee taking the TUE’s too far
What is that?
I’m not sure what they are referencing but if you are wondering what a TUE is, it is a therapeutic use exemption. It allows an athlete to use a banned substance or administration method to treat a medical condition. More can be read about TUEs here: https://www.wada-ama.org/en/athletes-support-personnel/therapeutic-use-exemptions-tues
Thank you so much for the updates! Been so hard to get info like this in recent years. So readily available in the big sports…makes it frustrating to be a swim fan sometimes.
Wishing Ellen a full recovery!
As a swim fan you are not entitled to know each and every specific detail about a swimmer.
What’s the big deal? Why is is so secretive in this sport? Cedric Tillman (football) has ankle surgery—we get almost weekly updates. Josiah Jordan James (men’s basketball) dealing with knee issues and misses several games—it’s talked about every broadcast and media presser. Marta Suarez (women‘s basketball) returns to Europe for personal reasons—there’s a media statement and her privacy remains in tact. Tennessee missing 3 of its top 4 swimmers all fall and more than a third of its SEC roster at invites—crickets (until now at least.)
Several colleges actually send us weekly reports, preemptively, without asking, about the injury status of everyone on their football teams.
And when we ask swimming people, we get a lot of “you can’t expect us to explain why our Olympians aren’t there every meet” but then the next week “hey we want fans at our meets help us promote this!!!”
Again, appreciate the updates!
My understanding / recollection is that the injury reports are spurred by gambling. Hence, even at the collegiate level, it is those sports on which one may wager, where injury reports are issued.