Sisters Alex and Gretchen Walsh, who spent much of their childhood in Greenwich and most of their young lives in pools—traveling at speeds that crush records and win Olympic medals—now have a swimwear line to add to their résumés.
Alex is a rising senior and Gretchen a rising junior at the University of Virginia, where the pair swim on the team that has won three national championships in a row. Following the 2021 change in the NCAA’s Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) policy, which allows college athletes to benefit from their NIL, Alex and Gretchen became the first collegiate athletes to launch a swimwear collection. Co-branded with Sporti, the Alex + Gretchen Walsh Collection is a refreshing change to ubiquitous teeny bikinis.
Created for fun and serious swimmers alike, the suits are sleek in design but with a palette and flair that are boldly different from the standard training swimsuit. “We work very closely with the designer,” says Alex, who won a silver medal in Tokyo. “They pull different print ideas, and we pick and choose what goes into the collection. We go over the colors, details and silhouettes—some are more for training, some more strappy and fashionable.”
Alex’s first collection is called “Nashville,” where the sisters were born and attended high school. Both went to Old Greenwich School for elementary, and Alex attended Eastern Middle School. Their mom, Glynis, was swim team captain at Greenwich High School and swam for Boston College. They are still members of Rocky Point Club in Old Greenwich, where their swimming careers began. “It’s a huge part of why we love Connecticut so much,” says Gretchen. As kids, they also swam for the YWCA Green Dolphins and Chelsea Piers Aquatics Club.
Gretchen’s first collection, “Barcelona,” was inspired by the city where the sisters swam in their first international meet. Riding on the success of those collections, they’ve now launched a “Palm Springs” collection, named after the idyllic locale where they shoot their swimwear (and model too!).
Daniela Bascuñán, Sporti’s VP of design, comments, “The Walsh sisters continue to impress us not only as remarkable swimmers but as true creative forces. Their collections reflect their personalities, their experiences and their unyielding commitment to bringing joy and confidence to the swimming community.” Another collection seems likely, if they can fit it in between laps. Both made the national team over the summer, qualifying in multiple events. Gretchen set the American record for the fifty-meter butterfly.
“Our biggest goal is to go to an Olympic Games together,” says Alex. “It’s crucial in our journeys—the fact that we have each other.”
Editor’s Note: Just as this issue was going to press, we got the great news that Gretchen and Alex now own even more hardware. At the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan Gretchen won gold, bronze and silver, and Alex, silver. Congratulations, ladies!
The sporti x alex + gretchen walsh collection is available in competitive swim sizing 22Y – 40 (Youth 6/7 to Adult XL), from $12.95 to $48.95, exclusively at swimoutlet.com.