PokéBase - Pokémon Q&A
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I’m basically wondering if this is a glitch or something like that or if it's a normal game mechanic.

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where did you catch the Gyarados?

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This is normal
According to this site, if you're surfing on Lake of Rage, you can find a Gyarados anywhere between lvls. 15-20, you must've been doing this, otherwise yes it is a glitch. This happens a few times where you can get a Pokemon that's higher or lower than the evolution it should have evolved at, such as finding a level 30 Magikarp.

Source: This website

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It makes sense because the radio waves from team rocket was what caused the magikarp to evolve earlier than normal and become angry.