Walsh was born in Hamburg, New York, as the youngest of five children and started swimming because of her father Bob, a swimming official. She graduated from the Mount Mercy Academy and then from the University of North Carolina (1984), with a degree in business administration and accounting. In 1987 she became assistant swimming coach and in February 1989 started working at the Educational Foundation, better known as the Ram's Club.
In 2003, she was inducted to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. In the 2000s, she was still competing in swimming in the masters category. In 2007, she set six world records in the 45–49 age group at the 2007 United States Master's Swimming Championships.