American Swimmer Surprises Herself With World Record

'I didn't know I was going that fast,' says Gretchen Walsh of UVa
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 16, 2024 6:26 AM CDT
US Swimmer on Record: 'Didn't Know I Was Going That Fast'
Gretchen Walsh reacts to her world record in the 100-metter butterfly Saturday, June 15, 2024, at the US Swimming Olympic trials in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The University of Virginia's Gretchen Walsh set a world record in the women's 100-meter butterfly Saturday night at the US Olympic swimming trials, per the AP. The 21-year-old posted a time of 55.18 seconds in a semifinal heat in Indianapolis, eclipsing the mark of 55.48 set by Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. "I definitely was feeling it," said Walsh. "I thought I was dying. I didn't know I was going that fast." Walsh held her left hand over her mouth as she looked at the scoreboard in disbelief, a "WR" beside her name.

"There has been a little bit of a buzz out there," she said. "I think going into tonight, like I knew it would take a (55-) point-4 or I guess point-5, but I didn't think I was going to do it tonight. I just knew I wanted to go a fast time and now here I am—a world-record holder." The Nashville native still has some work to do to claim a spot on her first Olympic team. In the final Sunday night, she will face a strong field that includes Torri Huske, Regan Smith, and Claire Curzan—all of them medalists from the Tokyo Games. Walsh, meanwhile, feels like she has a chance to break her own record.

  • Ledecky: Also of note Saturday, Katie Ledecky is heading to her fourth Olympics after cruising to victory in the 400-meter freestyle, per the AP. The 27-year-old became just the ninth US swimmer to qualify at least four times. Ledecky already has six individual gold medals, more than any female swimmer in Olympic history, and an overall haul of 10 medals that includes seven golds. She is expected to qualify in three other freestyle events this weekend.
(More USA Swimming stories.)

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