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Virginia's Gretchen Walsh continues pre-Olympic run by destroying NCAA record in 100 butterfly

ATHENS, GEORGIA - MARCH 21: Gretchen Walsh of the Virginia Cavaliers gestures after winning the Women's 50 Yard Freestyle finals during the Division I Women's Swimming and Diving Championships held at Ramsey Center on March 21, 2024 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Alex Slitz/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Gretchen Walsh and her sister Alex are dominating the NCAA championships. (Photo by Alex Slitz/NCAA Photos via Getty Images) (Alex Slitz via Getty Images)

Odds are you will be hearing Gretchen Walsh's name quite a bit during the 2024 Olympics in Paris this summer. She provided an excellent explanation of why on Friday at the NCAA championships.

The Virginia junior rewrote the record books in the women's 100-yard butterfly, blowing the rest of the competition out of the water with a 47.42-second finish. The next-fastest was Emma Sticklen of Texas at 49.70 seconds.

The performance is an American, US Open and NCAA record. Walsh beat the NCAA mark, which she set last month at 48.25 seconds, by nearly a full second.

Walsh has also notched wins in the 50-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard medley relay in Athens, Georgia, this week. She broke the same trio of records in the 50 free on Thursday.

Walsh has done this in parallel with her older sister Alex, who participated in two of the relay wins and won individual gold in the 200-yard and 400-yard individual medleys.

It has been a dominant showing for Virginia overall as it seeks a fourth straight NCAA title. The Cavaliers finished Day 3 leading the field with 360.5 points, well ahead of second-place Texas at 319 points. The Walsh sisters have had a hand in seven of the program's eight golds so far, with the lone other win being Jasmine Nocentini in the 100-yard butterfly.

It is, of course, not a coincidence Virginia is on the verge of a fourth straight title in Alex's senior year and Gretchen's junior year. The two have been winning NCAA titles since their freshman years, with success on the world stage as well.

Alex earned her first Olympic medal with a silver in the 200-meter individual medley in Tokyo and won gold in the same event, plus two relays, at the 2022 world championships in Budapest. Gretchen earned gold in the 100 medley relay at 2023 world championships in Fukuoka.