Skip to Content

Gretchen Walsh makes US Olympic team a day after breaking the 100-meter butterfly world record

<i>Maddie Meyer/Getty Images via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Gretchen Walsh will compete at her first Olympics in Paris later this year.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images via CNN Newsource
Gretchen Walsh will compete at her first Olympics in Paris later this year.

By George Ramsay, CNN

(CNN) — Gretchen Walsh emerged as the star of the US Swimming Olympic Team Trials, qualifying for the Paris Games a day after breaking the 100-meter butterfly record.

Walsh secured her spot on the US team for next month’s Olympics with victory in the women’s 100m butterfly final in Indianapolis on Sunday, finishing ahead of Torri Huske in a time of 55.31 seconds after a blistering start to the race.

Earlier in the trials, the University of Virginia star set a world record in the semifinals, clocking 55.18 seconds to break decorated Swedish swimmer Sarah Sjöström’s mark from 2016.

“I’m still in shock, I don’t even know what to say,” Walsh said in her poolside interview after earning a spot on the team. “Making the team was the biggest goal, but getting a world record was absolute insanity. I couldn’t ask for a better first event of the meet.”

Walsh, who picked up an individual and two relay medals at last year’s world championships in Fukuoka, Japan, will now head to her first Olympics as a strong favorite to win silverware for the US team.

After breaking the 100m butterfly record, she was embraced by her older sister, Alex, who competed at the Tokyo Olympics, and coach Todd DeSorbo.

“I can’t even describe how it felt,” Walsh said about breaking the record. “I was thinking of my family, my teammates, my coaches, and just all the training that led up to that moment.”

Sjöström was among those to congratulate the 21-year-old after Saturday’s performance, writing on Instagram: “Breaking records is a significant achievement, but it’s also a reminder of the endless possibilities in swimming.

“It’s moments like these that remind us why we fell in love with swimming in the first place – the pursuit of greatness and the joy of surpassing limits.”

That wasn’t the only record to fall on Saturday. A crowd of 20,689 was in attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium to watch the trials, the largest ever to watch a swim meet, according to USA Swimming.

On Sunday, 17,697 fans cheered from the stands for the preliminaries, making it the highest-attended prelims in history.

The oldest swimmer at the meet, 46-year-old Gabrielle Rose, was hoping to make her third Olympics after competing in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000.

Rose, more than 30 years older than some of the swimmers attempting to make the team for Paris, set a personal best of 1:08.43 in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke to reach the semifinals.

Watched on by her nine-year-old daughter in the stands, Rose was unable to progress beyond the semifinals, despite recording another personal best of 1:08.32.

“I’ve absolutely loved going back to my roots as a professional athlete and knowing that this is a special time in my life just to see what I’m capable of,” said Rose.

“I’m really lucky to feel so young and feel so strong and just to have this experience,” she added. “I don’t really relate to oldest. I’m just hoping to show people you can do more, you’re capable of doing more, you can have more energy, you can have more strength than you thought was possible.”

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Sports

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content