LumaLanes Split Time Analysis: Alex Walsh’s 200 IM National Age-Group Record

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Alex Walsh set a new National Age-Group record in the 200 IM at the US Open in December

Split times for the 200 Long Course Meters Individual Medley is sponsored by LumaLanes.

Today we look at Nashville Aquatic Club’s Alex Walsh and her new national age-group (NAG) record in the 200 IM, swum at the recent Toyota US Open Championships in Atlanta, GA. We will be comparing her race and subsequent split times with Elizabeth Pelton‘s previous NAG from 2011 and Melanie Margalis‘ winning time from this very race in Atlanta.

Walsh (US Open, 2019) – 28.26/33.03/37.42/30.30 – 2:09.01

Pelton (Winter Nats, 2011) – 27.86/32.56/38.80/30.80 – 2:10.02

Margalis (US Open, 2019) – 28.47/33.98/36.27/30.12 – 2:08.84

Analysis

With the split breakdowns for these three races, we can see in which stroke disciplines each swimmer excels: Pelton, a national team backstroker, had the fastest split in that segment of the three women. Margalis, an excellent breaststroker and Olympic Gold Medalist on a freestyle relay, had the strongest back half the three women. Walsh, who has set records in back and breast throughout her age-group career, performed her best in the middle of the race.

While Walsh and Margalis physically competed in the same competition, Pelton’s swim occurred almost exactly eight years prior in the same pool (Georgia Tech’s Olympic Pool). Had these three swimmers actually swam against one another, Pelton would have taken a decent .4 second lead at the first turn with Walsh second and Margalis third. At the halfway point, Pelton would have extended her lead to .87 seconds over Walsh, with Margalis dropping back to over a second behind her. The third lap is where Margalis would make her move, swimming past Pelton and only trailing her younger competitor from the Music City by .01 seconds. It’s an all-out race to the finish, with Margalis just edging Walsh by .17 seconds.

Looking Forward

Since the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Margalis has dominated the 200 IM for the American women. With another Games coming up this summer, she appears to be the frontrunner for the title at Olympic Trials. But Walsh’s swim here adds another challenger to the mix. Will it be these two who claim the spots to Tokyo, or perhaps another swimmer, such as Ella Eastin, Kathleen Baker, or Madisyn Cox? Walsh appears to be on the rise, and if there is any one point to get hot during an Olympic cycle, it is right now.

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