Gretchen Walsh, Alex Walsh Shine But Baylor Wins Tennessee Girls State Championships

gretchen walsh
Photo Courtesy: Harpeth Hall Athletics Instagram (@hhathletics)

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The 2020 TISCA Tennessee Girls State Swimming and Diving Championships took place from Feb. 7-8 at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tenn.

Harpeth Hall’s Gretchen Walsh highlighted the meet by breaking the overall National High School record in the 50 free with a jaw-dropping 21.59 on day one, then following it up with yet another national record-setting performance with a 46.98 in the 100 free on day two.

Her older sister, Alex Walsh, also had herself a meet. One day after Claire Curzan broke the National High School record in the 100 back at the North Carolina 4A State Championships, A. Walsh lowered it once again with a final time of 51.35.

Baylor used their impressive depth to earn their second-straight team title with 295 points ahead of Harpeth Hall (220) and Maryville (196). This is the 15th-straight year the Baylor boys and girls have won the combined team title.

Click HERE for full results and team scores.

Top 5 Team Scores:

1. Baylor – 295
2. Harpeth Hall – 220
3. Maryville – 196
4. Ensworth – 121
5. Brentwood – 120

Harpeth Hall’s Ava Claire Williams (28.46), A. Walsh (26.57), Alex Massey (23.79), and G. Walsh (21.20) began the meet with a huge win in the 4×50 medley relay in a combined time of 1:40.02, well ahead of runner-up Baylor (1:43.40). Both Walsh sisters’ splits would’ve been the third-fastest split in the 4×50 medley relay at the 2019 NCAA Championships.

A. Walsh cruised to first in the 200 free for the fourth-straight year, leading the race from start to finish to post a quick 1:45.19. The Virginia commit was just off her own Tennessee state record of 1:45.05 she set last year. Ensworth School’s Kallie Chelsvig earned silver for the second-consecutive season in 1:48.28.

Shortly after helping her team win the opening medley relay, Massey was back in the water to post a two-second victory in the 200 IM. The future Yale Bulldog touched the wall in 2:00.62 ahead of Rice commit and Brentwood senior Lauren Hurt (2:02.28) and Baylor’s Lillie Boggs (2:04.17).

G. Walsh, who has verbally committed to Virginia, stole the show with a 21.59 in the 50 free to break Abbey Weitzeil’s National High School record. Her time also destroyed her own Tennessee state record of 22.26 set in 2018. Ravenwood’s Morgan Carteaux (23.00) and GPS’ Ellie Taliaferro (23.09) rounded out the top three.

Baylor junior and soon-to-be Auburn Tiger Ellie Waldrep flew to the top of the podium in the 100 fly, getting her hands to the wall the quickest in 53.66. Massey was right behind her in 53.83 for the silver medal while Carter’s Annie Rimmer earned bronze in 54.96.

G. Walsh was back at it again on day two, beginning the second session with yet another National High School record in the 100 free with a blazing 46.98. Not only did she break Weitzeil’s mark, but also crushed Kristen Vredeveld’s state record of 48.67 set back in 2012. Taliaferro (50.04) and Collierville’s Erin Milligan (50.05) rounded out the top three.

Kallie Chelsvig of Ensworth, who will head to Notre Dame this fall, won a tight 500 free battle in 4:49.98 to edge our runner-up Julia Burroughs (4:50.29) of Maryville. Boggs (4:56.41) and MHEA’s Amber Schulte (4:57.76) also cracked the five-minute marker.

Baylor’s Waldrep (23.54), Jewel Gordon (23.34), Lydia Bohannon (24.08), and Logan Watson-Brown (23.41) combined in 1:34.37 to earn the victory in the 4×50 free relay. Brentwood took a distant second in 1:36.61 while Maryville rounded out the top three in 1:38.24.

Blackman’s Alexandra Andueza dove to first on the 1-meter board, posting a final score of 419.75 for the second-year-in-a-row win. Second place went to Siegel’s Hannah Babcock with 397.65 points and third belonged to Halls’ Rylee Orr with a score of 371.60.

A. Walsh’s second individual win of the meet came in the 100 back where she eclipsed the overall National High School record of 51.38 with her time of 51.35. Her time also broke her younger sister’s Tennessee state record of 51.57 set at this meet last year. Waldrep (52.49) and Centennial’s Zoe Summar (55.23) finished second and third, respectively.

John Paul II’s Ella Platek earned the gold medal in the 100 breast after getting her hands to the wall the fastest in a final time of 1:03.99, just off her prelims swim of 1:03.90. Silver went to St. Cecilia’s Hannah Neilsen in 1:04.43 while Baylor’s Bre Belcher grabbed bronze in 1:05.53.

Harpeth Hall concluded the meet as Lexi Stewart (55.00, Massey (49.76), A. Walsh (47.91), and G. Walsh (48.14) combined in 3:20.81 for a win in the 4×100 free relay. They were 10 seconds ahead of runner-up Maryville (3:30.24) and Baylor finished third in 3:30.80.

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