UVA Swimmer Breaks World Record, Qualifies for US Olympic Team

June 17, 2024 By Andrew Ramspacher, fpa5up@virginia.edu Andrew Ramspacher, fpa5up@virginia.edu

One night, she set a world record. The next, she accomplished her dream.

University of Virginia rising senior Gretchen Walsh had a weekend to remember at the United States Olympic Swim Trials in Indianapolis.

Walsh, in a Saturday semifinal heat, swam the 100-meter butterfly race in a world-record time of 55.18 seconds. She became the first competitor to set a world record at the U.S. trials since 2008.

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Walsh then continued her dominance in the event Sunday, winning the championship race and earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team, which competes later this summer in Paris.

Walsh, the reigning collegiate national women’s swimmer of the year and a centerpiece of three of UVA’s four straight NCAA title teams, is an Olympian for the first time in her career. 



Gretchen Walsh’s achievement means her family now includes two Olympians as her older sister – and fellow Cavalier star – Alex swam in the 2020 Games in Tokyo, earning a silver medal in the 200-meter individual medley.

Alex Walsh, also competing in Indy, shared a special moment with her sister after Gretchen’s qualifying race on Sunday evening. 



The U.S. women’s swim team, coached by UVA’s Todd DeSorbo, could come with plenty of Wahoo flavor as more than two dozen Hoos – including alumni Kate Douglass, Paige Madden and Leah Smith – are competing in the U.S. Olympic trials, which began Saturday and end Sunday, June 23. 


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