Gretchen Walsh, Alex Walsh Record Strong Times in Off Events at Cavalier Invite

Gretchen Walsh -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Gretchen Walsh, Alex Walsh Record Strong Times in Off Events at Cavalier Invite

Most top Division I college teams have completed their dual-meet schedules and are in the midst of final preparations for their conference championship meets. The University of Virginia Cavaliers have the ACC Championships beginning in just over a week, but in the meantime, most of their big names are racing a limited schedule of events at the Cavalier Invite, which otherwise serves as a championship meet for non-ACC swimmers.

Friday night, Gretchen Walsh swam the country’s top time in the 200 IM, the event in which her older sister Alex Walsh is a two-time NCAA champion and former American-record holder. Gretchen posted a mark of 1:52.34, which surpasses Alex’s season-best time of 1:52.59 that was the country’s top mark heading into the weekend.

Gretchen now owns the country’s best time in five events, including the 50 and 100 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. She is expected to concentrate on the sprint free events plus either the 100 fly or 100 back at the NCAA Championships, but she will be heavily favored for national titles in whatever events she swims.

One day later, Alex posted a pair of swift efforts. In the 100 breaststroke prelims, she clocked 57.89 to move to No. 5 in the country, trailing only breaststroke specialists Mona McSharryKaitlyn DoblerAnna Elendt and Hannah Bach. Walsh did not swim the 100 breast final, but she did time-trial the 200 back and post a mark of 1:50.18, a mark only Cal’s Isabelle Stadden has beaten this year. Walsh has moved away from racing backstroke in recent years, but she excelled in the 200 back as a teenager, winning Pan American Games gold in the meters version of the event in 2019.

Additionally, Jasmine Nocentini clocked 57.89 to equal Walsh’s speed in the 100 breast while Aimee Canny recorded a mark of 4:38.38 in the 500 free. On the men’s side, Noah Nichols went 51.83 in the 100 breast while the Virginia 200 free relay team of Matt BrownsteadConnor BoyleTim Connery and August Lamb recorded a mark of 1:16.37, with Brownstead leading off in 19.05.

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