NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Glynis Walsh remembers the first time she realized her daughter, Alex, was a natural in the water.

“She was almost 6 and I took her to the JCC here to get swim lessons. And I was talking on the phone to (my husband) and was like ‘oh my gosh, Alex can swim!’”

And now, Harpeth Hall alum Alex Walsh is the best swimmer in the nation in the women’s 200 individual medley.

"It still really hasn't set in. When it first happened all my friends came up to me and were hugging me saying 'you're an Olympian!'" Alex said.

“We're so proud of her because she has continued to fight and held on and was determined. And I'm so excited for her," Glynis said.

Glynis and Robert, Alex’s father, say it's still surreal, being the parents of an Olympian. But, Alex and her younger sister Gretchen, who also competed in the U.S. trials, have worked towards this goal for years.

“They've been very fortunate to have each other through all these years. We are the support for them. Having them dedicate their lives to a sport and in turn being able to achieve at such levels has been extremely gratifying," Robert says.

It's a level Alex believes she wouldn't have achieved were it not for the coaching she got with the Nashville Aquatic Club at the Centennial Sportsplex.

“I worked with Doug and John for six years. They turned me into the swimmer I am today."

Coaches John Morse and Doug Wharam have trained some elite talent. And since 1975, the Nashville Aquatic Club has helped produce 14 Olympians.

“They understand the reward that can come from working hard and sticking with things through the ups and downs and the end result of that is when the athlete has the talent and the desire, they can become an Olympian," Wharam said.

And that's the case for 19-year-old Alex, who's world instantly changed in the last week when she signed that drum poolside in Omaha after making the US team.

"Obviously, it's an honor to represent the U.S. at the Olympics and I just want to do the best that I can," says Alex.

On Sunday, she leaves for Hawaii for U.S. team training, and then it's straight to Tokyo for the Summer Games.

"I don't have any expectations. I just want to go in and race really hard. But, I think that will yield some pretty good results."

 

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