Records are often the ultimate testament to an athlete’s prowess and endurance. The women’s 100-meter butterfly record seemed like an insurmountable peak for several years. The timing of 55.48 was fiercely guarded by the phenomenal Swedish swimmer, Sarah Sjostrom. Since 2015, the record has remained untouched despite relentless challenges from competitors to break it, until Gretchen Walsh emerged.

From the finals of the Tokyo Olympics, the anticipation has been building. With the timings of Sjostrom’s competitors in the 100-meter fly, fans were just waiting to know who would dethrone Sjostrom. But in a sudden twist that very few might have anticipated, Gretchen Walsh, who did not even qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, has eclipsed the long-standing record of Sjostrom. 

Gretchen Walsh is now a name that has quietly been making waves in American swimming circles. The 16-year-old Walsh who could not get the ticket to represent her country in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, has now taken the dive to shatter records. After years of near-misses and the setback before Tokyo, Walsh finally vindicated herself by achieving the long-sought victory.


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At the Lucas Oil Stadium, on the very first evening of the US Olympic Trials, Walsh shattered Sjostrom’s world record in the semis. And on the second day of the trials, Gretchen Walsh secured a ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics. She defeated Torri Huske and clocked a time of 55.31 seconds. But what surprised fans even more was the reaction of Sarah Sjostrom to Walsh’s win.

Sjostrom took to her Instagram and shared an image of her with Gretchen Walsh flaunting their medals at the 2023 Fukuoka World Aquatics Championships. Sjostrom captioned the post, Congratulation to @gretchwalsh2 for this remarkable accomplishment. World record in 100m fly 55.18 !!! 🌟🚀

“Breaking records is a significant achievement, but it’s also a reminder of the endless possibilities in swimming. It’s moments like these that remind us why we fell in love with swimming in the first place – the pursuit of greatness and the joy of surpassing limits,Sjostrom said. Moreover, she added an Instagram story where the 30-year-old Olympic gold medalist was rather pragmatic in conveying to her fans to ‘Let it be’.

She shared a picture of her own with the background score of The Beatles’ song ‘Let it Be’. And she wrote, “Hate to disappoint fans who sends me DMs like “You’ll take that record back again soon💪” That ain’t gonna happen 😂👵🩷”.

In a recent interview, Gretchen Walsh also showed immense respect towards Swedish legend Sarah Sjostrom. Walsh shared her feelings after breaking a world record that was previously held by Sarah Sjostrom. Walsh stated, “It’s crazy. I mean, she’s an incredible athlete and swimmer and a role model to me, so even being in the same sentence as her is already crazy, so it’s definitely a dream come true.” Such a camaraderie of sportsmanship won the hearts of netizens and fans.

Netizens celebrate the sportsmanship spirit of Walsh and Sjostrom 


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One fan applauded Sarah Sjostrom’s graciousness in acknowledging Walsh’s achievement. The fan wrote, What a class act! Records are meant to be broken, but Sarah Sjostrom’s mark on this sport will remain for decades to come. Congratulations to both!” 

Brazilian swimmer and Olympian Bruno Fratus expressed his admiration for Sarah Sjostrom’s display of sportsmanship and respect towards Gretchen Walsh. “You’re such a class act Sarah, I’m proud to be a fan”, wrote Fratus.

“You’re a legend both in and out of pool,” commented another swimming enthusiast praising the first Swedish woman to win an Olympic gold in swimming. Highlighting her achievements in the aquatic realm and her display of support towards emerging athletes, the fan expressed their admiration in the comment.


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One Instagram user congratulated Walsh for making the world record and expressed admiration for their mutual respect and exemplary sportsmanship in the competitive world. The fan added, “Sportsmanship at it’s highest level. Well done Sarah and congrats Greta on this amazing world record!💪👏”

Another fan of Sjostrom highlighted how such a gracious act of support and mutual respect makes it easier for them to admire Sjostrom even more. “Wow, you’re a class act, Sarah! It’s easy to be a fan of yours. Thank you for your example of sportsmanship”, added the fan in the comment section of Sjostrom’s post. Seems like, it is not the completion or records, but the spirit that defines a sport.