Share this article

Gretchen Walsh Records Most Successful Swimming Meet of the Career. Will She Be the U.S. Underdog at Paris Olympics 2024?

Published 11/19/2023, 11:43 PM EST

Follow Us

“It was super fun,” that response came in the spot when Gretchen Walsh realized that she almost touched the 48:00 seconds barrier. However, that did not hinder her chance to make a record of swimming. Her timing of 48:26 posed to be the record in the history of the NCAA on the 100 back. Explaining her joy, the 20-year-old swimmer confirmed that all she wanted was to cross the 49-second barrier. But a 48-second finish is nearer to her heart. The Tennessee-born swimmer readily made her goal to go past that set time in the next encounter.

America’s Favorite Video Today

The recently concluded 2023 Tennessee Invitational witnessed some of the best outings of Gretchen Walsh in the water. Not just this, her achievements in the other swimming departments have garnered a lot of appreciation for her. But would that be enough for her to lock horns against legends like Katie Ledecky, Sarah Sjostrom, and Simone Manuel in the Paris Olympics 2024? Well, a Twitter user came out with the best response. 

Gretchen Walsh gears up before the Paris Olympics 2024


Article continues below this ad

Tennessee Invitational has come out as the flintstone of Gretchen Walsh’s perfection in the water. The UVA sophomore used the competition to challenge her former mate Kate Douglass, current world champion of the 200 medley. In the Tennessee Invitational, Gretchen took just 48.30 compared to Kate’s 48.46 in the 100m fly. The 48.30 has also been registered as the record set by the NCAA. The best reward for Gretchen Walsh might have come in the 100-yard free split on rolling. Gretchen’s rolling came in 45.18 seconds. The timing was enough to shatter the timing set by Maggie MacNeil, one of the most decorated swimmers in Canada’s history.

Kyle Stockwell has accurately described Gretchen’s impressive achievements at the Tennessee Invitational. @kylesockwell, the leader of Swimming Twitter, has shared achievements along with favorable judgments. He has attributed his post with the caption, “Gretchen Walsh just had a meet for the record books in Tennessee…”. Incidentally, 3 of the 20-year-old’s timings in the meet have come out as records.


Get instantly notified of the hottest Swimming stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

However, the 2023 NCAA Division 1 Championships also saw Gretchen Walsh in a similar mood. In the 4×50-yard medley relay, Walsh joined her teammates to go past the records set in the US Open, American, and NCAA. The 100-yard freestyle came as her favorite event in the championship. The personal and NCAA’s best timing in that event came in 45.61 seconds. Meanwhile, the100 100-yard freestyle showed the gradual development in Gretchen’s prowess as the previous record was set by her only. However, the stunner was the 100-yard backstroke. The game witnessed Gretchen come full circle before the Paris Olympics 2024. 


The 48-second benchmark in 100-yard backstroke used to be unimaginable for fair reasons. However, it took multiple Olympics medal winner Katherine Berkoff from the USA to break the jinx. She lowered the timing to 48 seconds for the first time. Nonetheless, Gretchen Walsh took her wish to break Katherine’s record to her chin. After participating in the section in 2021, Gretchen did something unimaginable in 2022. She could not break Katherine’s record that time but her timing clocked at 49 seconds. However, she just extended the wait for another year.

In 2023, Gretchen Walsh clocked 48.26 in securing the top spot in the event. On that evening, the NCAA swimming arena saw an unknown Gretchen Walsh go past legends in the likes of Katherine Berkoff, Beata Nelson, and Regan Smith. However, Gretchen has been keeping a distance from the 200-yard IM event. Her teammate, Kate Douglass, did something of similar height in that event in the NCAA championship this year. 

In the league of Katie Ledecky, Sarah Sjostrom, and Simone Manuel

After the 2020 US Olympic Trials, Gretchen Walsh’s performance has witnessed a top-notch change. She couldn’t make it into the 2020 US Olympics team. The blame went to her abysmal performance in the trials. On the final day of that trial, she clocked 24.74 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle. This was just 0.10 seconds slower than her personal best. However, in the 2023 NCAA championship, she bagged the silver medal by clocking 20.85 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle. This timing stood way better than the world record set by the legend, Sarah Sjostrom, in the long course. Even the 100 m freestyle world record set by Sarah Sjostrom shows pale in front of the timing set by Gretchen in the 100-yard freestyle. 


Article continues below this ad

USA Swimming Insider Claps for Gretchen Walsh as She Upsets 100M Butterfly World Record With a Strange Twist

Similar stats come in the comparison to Gretchen Walsh with the legendary Simone Manuel. The world record set by Simone in the 4×100 m Mixed Medley Relay took the time of 3:51:55. In the 4×100 yd medley, Gretchen Walsh’s gold-winning performance in the 2023 NCAA Championship came at 3:22:39. However, Katie Ledecky has seemed to be a distant glory to reach for Gretchen Walsh. The GOAT set the world record at 400 m freestyle in the 2022 World Championships by clocking 3:58:15. That below-4 score has been standing to the challenges still. Moreover, Katie’s events and Gretchen’s are not similar. Katie does not participate in low distances, such as 50 or 100 m, like Gretchen. 

Still, in the 2024 Paris Olympic Olympic berth, the biggest threat to Gretchen Walsh could be Kaylee McKeown. The 3-time Olympic champion has recently broken the 100-meter backstroke world record. The current record stays at this moment clocking 57.33 seconds. That is below the time taken by Gretchen Walsh in crossing 100 yards backstroke in the 2023 NCAA Championship. However, that may not belittle the Australian’s achievement. The 22-year-old Kaylee has registered her world records in 50, 100 m, and 200m backstroke. As per CNN, she is the first swimmer to own the three records simultaneously. 


Article continues below this ad

Now, whom do you choose as the threat to Gretchen Walsh’s rise in the Paris Olympics 2024? Do let us know in the comment box. 

Watch this story: Swimming Legend’s Halloween Edition: How Michael Phelps’ Childhood Friend Lightened Up His Family’s Spooky Celebration

Providing feedback will help us make your experience better.

The Fan's Perspective

Enjoyed Your Read? Let us know how likely you are to recommend EssentiallySports to your friends!

Least Likely

Most Likely



Written by:

Prasun Chakrabarty


One take at a time

Hello there! I am Prasun Chakrabarty, an Olympics sports writer at EssentiallySports. Being an adrenaline junkie, I take a keen interest in creating insights about various avenues of the sporting realm. As an ardent swimming enthusiast, I take inspiration from the Baltimore Bullet Michael Phelps and love to create insights on various nooks and crannies around the turquoise turf.
Show More>

Edited by:

Sampurna Pal