Out of South Bend Swim Club in Indiana, Bethany Galat is an NCAA All-American at Texas A&M. Galat was the top-ranked recruit out of the state of Indiana, and the no. 13 2014 recruit overall, according to collegeswimming.com. Galat is a talented breaststroke specialist – she came into A&M with times that would already qualify for the NCAA Championships. A&M was probably a natural fit, considering what Head Coach Steve Bultman developed in Breeja Larson. Although she is a breaststroke swimmer, she also has excellent times in the 200 IM and 200 breaststroke, and can even put up a sub-23 second 50 freestyle. She can really fit any holes within a team, making a huge impact within the dual-meet season. Graduating from Penn High School, Galat is the Indiana-state record holder in the 100 breaststroke – a mark she broke as a senior, dropping a 59.66. She is competitive, and proved so at the same state meet, when she finished .01 seconds behind the state record holder in the 50 freestyle. Born Aug. 10, 1995 Galat is also a member of USA Swimming’s National Junior Team.
Galat finished fourth in the 200 IM, 10th in the 100 breaststroke and 14th in the 200 breaststroke at the SEC Championships. Qualifying for the NCAA meet as a freshman, Galat won the consolation final of the 200 IM, finished 10th in the 100 breaststroke and 23rd in the 200 breaststroke. She swam multiple relays as well, including the 11th-place 200 medley relay and the fifth-place 200 freestyle relay.
Galat only continued to improve her sophomore year. At the NCAA Championships, she once again took the 200 IM B-final by storm, placing 9th (1:55.26) for the 2nd year in a row. That night she also split 59.33 on the breaststroke leg of the 400 medley relay to help the aggies win yet another consolation final. She opted out of the 100 Breast and into the 400 IM on Day 3, where she placed 5th (4:05.17) in the final. Galat collected another 5th place finish in the 200 Breast (2:07.19) on the final day of competition.
In her junior year, Galat finally finished in the top 8 of the 200 IM, touching at 1:54.16 for 5th. She once again bettered her sophomore finish in the 400 IM, touching at 4:01.06 to place 4th. In what turned out to be an extremely fast prelims session on the last day of competition, Galat missed the A-final in the 200 breast, finishing 9th out of prelims. However, at night she once again took the B-final victory in a best time of 2:06.68.
Galat saved her best NCAA performance for last during her senior year. She once again placed 4th in the 200 IM, continuing the trend of best times after registering a 1:53.17. In what was the fastest 400 IM final in women;s swimming history, Galat placed 5th at 4:02.19, with all 4 girls who touched ahead of her dipping under the 4-minute barrier. After having a silver medal performance in the 200 breast at worlds the summer before, Galat kept the 200 breast momentum rolling in her last NCAA. She touched the wall in 2nd at 2:03.26, making her the 2nd fastest performer all-time in the event, behind only Lilly King, who went 2:02.60 to just beat Galat out for the victory.
Galat was a member of USA Swimming’s National Junior Team prior to joining the A&M squad. She is an Indiana-state record holder in the 100 breaststroke, which she broke in her senior year. She won two IHSAA state titles her senior – the 200 IM, in addition the previously mentioned 100 breaststroke. She helped Penn High School finish fourth in the state meet.
2016 Olympic Trials
Galat had a long course breakout meet at the 2016 Olympic Trials in Omaha. On Day 1, she came less than a second away from making her first olympic team, touching 3rd at the wall in the 400 IM (4:37.69). 3 days later, Galat was back in the 200 IM final, finishing 6th overall in 2:12.82. 2 days later, she raced in the 200 breast final, where she again touched in 3rd place (2:24.52), just missing the team for a 2nd time.
2017 US World Team Trials
Galat built on her long course successes from 2016 at the 2017 World Champ trials. In the 400 IM, she qualified for the final out of prelims, but was ultimately disqualified in the final. The next day, Galat is quoted as having a fire in her heart for the 200 breast. She finished the second half of the 200m breaststroke strong to place second and make the US World Championship Team. Her time of 2:22.24 was just behind winner Lilly King’s 2:21.83. On the last day of competition, she swam in the 200 IM final and touched at 5th (2:12.66) overall.
2017 FINA World Championships
Day six in the final of the 200m breaststroke, Galat (2:21.77) was in 7th at the 150-mark, but turned it on in the last 50 meters to reach in and out-touch China’s Shi Jinglin (2:21.93) for silver. Team USA’s 100m breaststroke champ Lilly King had the early lead, but fell off the pace towards the end to finish just off the podium in 2:22.10.