ACC Championships, Day 5 Finals: Gretchen Walsh Shatters Manuel’s American Record in 100 Free

Gretchen Walsh -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

ACC Championships, Day 5 Finals: Gretchen Walsh Shatters Manuel’s American Record in 100 Free

For the fourth time this week, University of Virginia third-year Gretchen Walsh has recorded the fastest time in history. After swimming times of 20.57 in the 50 freestyle, 48.25 in the 100 butterfly and 48.10 in the 100 backstroke during the first four days of the ACC Championships, not to mention a 19.95 relay split and the third-fastest time ever in the 200 free, the 100 freestyle was next on Walsh’s target list. She has already won the event at the NCAA Championships each of her first two years in college swimming, and now, Walsh owns the fastest time in history.

As with all of her other races this week, Walsh was dominant from start to finish. She was out in 21.42, under American and NCAA-record pace by almost a half-second, and she clocked in 23.74 to secure a time of 45.16. That was four tenths quicker the previous American, NCAA and U.S. Open record of 45.56 set by Simone Manuel in 2017, in the midst of Manuel’s streak of dominance in the 100 free where she tied for Olympic gold and then won two consecutive world titles.

Walsh is now the undisputed leader in the sprint events on the college swimming scene, poised to dominate whichever events she chooses to race at next month’s NCAA Championships. While her University of Virginia training partner Kate Douglass won NCAA titles in four different individual events and held American and NCAA records in all those races, even she never held four concurrently. No one since Natalie Coughlin, who at one point held American and NCAA records in an unbelievable seven short course yards events, has exerted such dominance over short course yards sprinting.

In the march to yet another conference title, Virginia secured a 1-2 finish here with Jasmine Nocentini touching in 46.78 for second place while NC State’ Katharine Berkoff closed hard to secure third, her time of 46.81 just three hundredths behind Nocentini. Louisville swimmers occupied the next three spots, with Gabi Albiero leading the way at 47.28.

Event 36  Women 100 Yard Freestyle
         MEET: # 45.86  2/18/2023 Kate C Douglass, UVA-VA
         CONF: % 45.81  3/18/2023 Gretchen Walsh, UVA-VA
         AMER: $ 45.56  3/18/2017 Simone Manuel, Stanford
         USOP: & 45.56  3/18/2017 Simone Manuel, Stanford
         NCAA: ! 45.56  3/18/2017 Simone Manuel, Stanford
         Pool: * 45.86  2/18/2023 Katherine Douglass, UVA-VA
                 47.18  A
                 48.37  IV23 Invited NCAA 2023
                 49.36  B
    Name           Year School            Prelims     Finals       Points 
                            === A - Final ===                            
  1 Walsh, Gretchen     UVA                 46.28      45.16$A       32  
    r:+0.77  21.42        45.16 (23.74)
  2 Nocentini, Jasm     UVA                 47.22      46.78 A       28  
    r:+0.63  22.20        46.78 (24.58)
  3 Berkoff, Kathar     NC State            47.31      46.81 A       27  
    r:+0.70  22.37        46.81 (24.44)
  4 Albiero, Gabrie     Louisville          47.39      47.28 IV23    26  
    r:+0.67  22.76        47.28 (24.52)
  5 Regenauer, Chri     Louisville          47.75      47.52 IV23    25  
    r:+0.67  22.83        47.52 (24.69)
  6 Dennis, Julia       Louisville          48.03      47.84 IV23    24  
    r:+0.67  22.82        47.84 (25.02)
  7 Parker, Maxine      UVA                 48.11      47.92 IV23    23  
    r:+0.76  22.99        47.92 (24.93)
  8 Mehraban, Lucy      Louisville          48.61      48.09 IV23    22  
    r:+0.75  23.06        48.09 (25.03)
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