Gretchen Walsh Joins Sister Alex With Huge Verbal Commitment to Virginia

Gretchen Walsh will join her older sister Alex at the University of Virginia in the fall of 2021. Photo Courtesy: FINA / Budapest 2019

NEW COMMIT: United States National Team member Gretchen Walsh, arguably the most sought-out recruit in the Class of 2021, has verbally committed to Virginia. The Nashville, Tenn. native and standout sprinter will join the Cavaliers as a member of the class of 2025.

Her older sister, fellow National Teamer Alex Walsh, has also committed to the University of Virginia and will join the Hoos in the fall of 2020, making this a 2-for-1 deal for head coach Todd DeSorbo.

Walsh does her club swimming with Nashville Aquatic Club under coaches John Morse and Doug Wharam. She was recently named to the 2019-2020 U.S. National Team for her stellar performance in 50m free and 100m free at FINA World Juniors. She currently owns four 15-16 National Age Group records in the 50 free, 50m free, 100 free and 4×50 medley relay.

Walsh earned a pair of gold medals the 50m and 100m free at the 7th FINA World Junior Championships this past summer, just shy off the championship record in both events. The team captain also anchored the winning 4x100m medley relay, led off the victorious 4x100m free relay, and anchored the World Junior record-setting mixed 4x100m free relay.

Prior to Budapest, Walsh was the runner-up in both the 50m and 100m free at the Phillips 66 National Championships where she also won the 100m back B-final with a time that would’ve secured the silver medal overall. At Juniors East in December 2018, Walsh won both of her signature events and took second in the 100 back.

A current junior at dominant Harpeth Hall, Gretchen Walsh has also made a splash on the high school scene. As a sophomore, she recorded a blistering 21.19 split on her team’s second-place 4×50 medley relay while also winning the 100 back and 100 fly, setting a state record in the latter event. She earned victories in the 50 free and 100 back during her freshman season while splitting a 21.64 to anchor her team’s 4×50 medley relay en route to setting a new girls’ independent high school record in 2018.


Gretchen Walsh’s Best Times:

  • 50 free – 21.82
  • 100 free – 47.49
  • 200 free – 1:44.91
  • 100 back – 51.57
  • 100 fly – 52.23
  • 200 IM – 1:58.15

Walsh, who qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials as a 13-year-old, has already achieved six 2020 Olympic Trials cuts:

  • 50m free – 24.71
  • 100m free – 53.74
  • 200m free – 2:01.12
  • 100m back – 1:00.26
  • 100m fly – 58.84
  • 200m IM – 2:15.67

Even with over a year to go before arriving in Charlottesville, Gretchen Walsh will make an immediate impact on both the conference and NCAA level. Her best times already would’ve scored in the A-final of the 50 free and 100 free as well as the B-final of the 100 back at the 2019 NCAA Championships. She will also be a valuable asset on all five relays for Virginia, who finished sixth at NCAAs and second at ACCs in 2019.

Virginia is quietly building a stacked team in Charlottesville with a strong incoming class already in place for next season with Abby Harter, Anna Keating, Alex Walsh, Emma Weyant and Sophie Wilson.

Gretchen Walsh will join a class in the fall of 2021 that already includes Ella Bathurst, Abby KapellerKate MorrisCaroline Pennington and Reilly Tiltmann.

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4 years ago

Quinn Schaedler will join UVa in 2020 as well.

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