‘Inside UVA’: Olympic Medalist Talks Laps, Books Ahead of NCAA Championships

March 19, 2024 By Jane Kelly, jak4g@virginia.edu Jane Kelly, jak4g@virginia.edu

Audio: ‘Inside UVA’: Olympic Medalist Talks Laps, Books Ahead of NCAA Championships(27:28)

This week on President Ryan’s podcast, decorated swimmer Alex Walsh shares her back story and love of UVA ahead of the NCAA championships.


She is an Olympic silver medalist, has broken NCAA and U.S. Open records and qualified for the Olympic trials ahead of the Paris 2024 Games.

Her name is Alex Walsh, and she took the seat opposite University of Virginia President Jim Ryan in the latest episode of his podcast, “Inside UVA.”

Walsh is a fourth-year student-athlete on UVA’s women’s swimming and diving team, which will seek its fourth consecutive NCAA championship beginning Wednesday.

“In NCAA competition, she’s won five individual titles, eight relay titles and three team titles,” Ryan said by way of introduction. “She’s a superb student-athlete and an engaged and inspiring role model to aspiring student-athletes.”

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Alex and her sister Gretchen, a third-year student, are both on UVA’s team. Their mom, Glynis, swam at Boston College and put the pair on swim teams when they were little. It slowly became clear they both possessed a special talent for slicing through the water at record speeds.

However, it wasn’t until the age of 12, Alex said, that she realized she had a gift. 

“At that point, I had broken a national record for my age group and was elated by, you know, the success and everything, and people were telling me ‘congratulations,’” she said. “I remember my mom, like, distinctly, she kind of turned around to me in the back seat on the way home from the pool, and she was like, ‘I don’t think you realize how awesome that is.’ I still remember it to this day.”

Once in high school, Walsh was being courted by five universities. But when she visited UVA, she knew this was her place. 

“I just immediately clicked with the team. I just felt like I laughed harder here than I had ever laughed at any other school. I just remember thinking to myself, ‘I was crying laughing with these girls,’” she recalled. “‘That’s what I kind of want to spend college with.’ So, once I made the decision, I never went back. I never regretted it. I still don’t regret it.”

Tune in to this week’s edition of “Inside UVA” to learn more about how Walsh became a Wahoo, and what her summer plans are.

The episode can be heard on most podcast apps, including Apple PodcastsSpotify and Google Podcasts.

Media Contact

Jane Kelly

University News Senior Associate Office of University Communications