SWIMMERS: How Gretchen Walsh stays focused under pressure

Don Henshaw

On Saturday evening, at the first day of the US Olympic Swim Trials, Gretchen Walsh broke the world record in the 100m butterfly. 


By a whopping three-tenths of a second. 


This was on the heels of another huge NCAA championships swim meet, where she’d racked up seven gold medals in a wildly storied NCAA career. 


During the spring of 2024, she’d also broken the NCAA records in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke, and 100 butterfly. 


But those incredible performances were done in short course yard pools, where Walsh could unleash her incredible underwaters for longer compared to long course meter pools. 


This led commentators to call her a “bathtub” swimmer who would be unable to parlay her SCY prowess to the Olympic tank.


Welp, they were wrong. 


And one of the mental strategies Walsh used to crush in the water was having a plan and sticking to it. 


Even when in the high-pressure cauldron that was competing in front of 20,000+ people at Trials. 


“I just stuck to my plan,” says Walsh. “At the end of the day, you have a race strategy and you can just fall on that instinctively.”


Racing can be stressful. 


We’ve worked hard for an opportunity to shine over days, weeks, months, even years. 


And now it’s time to put it all together.


And Walsh nails it:


Build the performance you want. 


Have a race strategy (that you can control 100%).


And train yourself relentlessly to execute it so that it becomes second-nature.  


See you in the water,




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