Claire Adams is a backstroke specialist from Carmel, Indiana. Her family moved from Houston when she was 9 years old and her parents put her on a swim team to help her make friends. Four years later, Adams was at her first Olympic Trials at her first national meet.
On July 12, 2020, Adams announced her retirement from competitive swimming.
High School Swimming
Over the course of her career at Carmel High School, Adams became the first swimmer in Indiana state history to win 16 state titles and the first to win the 100 yard backstroke all four years. But the record she’s most proud of was the one she earned with the rest of her team, Becoming the best high school sports team in American History. In her senior year Carmel High School won its 30th straight state title, which earned the school the longest state title winning streak of any high school sports team in US history.
Adams was ranked #5 on SwimSwam’s Top 20 NCAA Recruits for Class of 2016. On September 28, 2015, Adams announced her verbal commitment to the University of Texas.
Adams was an immediate impact swimmer her freshman season. At the Big 12 Championships, she earned 2nd place in the 50 free (22.33), 100 back (51.19), and 200 back (1:51.16). She also swam on Texas’ 1st place 200, 400, and 800 free relays.
At her first NCAA’s, Adams placed 6th in the 100 back (50.95) and 10th in the 200 back (1:51.50). She also swam on UT’s 4th place 800 free relay, 10th place 200 free relay, 9th place 400 free relay, and prelims of the 400 medley relay, which placed 3rd in finals.
In her sophomore year, Adams continued to improve. At the Big 12 Championships, she took 1st in the 100 back (51.16) and 100 free (47.46), breaking the meet record in the latter. She exhibitioned the 50 free (22.26) so she could swim on all 5 of Texas’ winning relays.
At the NCAA’s, Adams placed 7th in the 100 back (51.38) and 12th in the 100 free (47.88). She also swam on Texas’ 5th place 800 free relay, 8th place 200 free relay, 6th place 400 medley relay, 8th place 200 medley relay, and 7th place 400 free relay.
Adams’ 2018 Big 12 Championships looked very similar to the previous year. She exhibitioned the 50 free (22.53) as well as the 100 fly (52.45), took individual titles in the 100 back (51.17) and 100 free (47.82), and swam on all 5 of UT’s winning relays.
At the NCAA’s, Adams took 10th in the 100 back (51.43) and 11th in the 100 free (47.91) and similar to the previous year, swam on all 5 UT relays, which placed 5th (800 free), 8th (200 free), 13th (400 medley), 12th (200 medley), and 4th (400 free).
At her final Big 12 Championships, Adams put up her best performances in February to date. She once again exhibitioned the 50 free (22.36) to swim on all 5 winning relays. Leading off the 400 medley relay, Adams broke the 100 back Big 12 meet record, splitting 50.51. She went on to take the Big 12 title individually in the 100 back with a winning time of 51.10 after going 50.68 in prelims. She also took her 3rd 100 free title in a row, touching for 1st in 48.03.
National and International Career
In 2014 Adams made her international debut at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships where she finished 9th in the 100 meter backstroke and 11th in the longer distance.
Breaking the Junior World Record
At the 2015 US National Championships, Adams raced her way to national titles in the 100 and 200 meter backstroke setting a new 100 meter backstroke world junior record in the process. Her time of 59.58 was a one and a half second drop of her time coming in to the meet and was the third best time of an American so far that year. In the 200 she also saw huge a huge drop in her best time and posted the fourth fastest time of an American for the year.
2015 Junior World Championships
In Singapore, Adams was voted by her teammates to become captain. After setting a new world record in the 100 backstroke weeks before she looked to be the favorite. But she settled for a silver with Australia’s Minna Atherton touching first and tying Adams junior world record. In the 200 meter backstroke she finished 5th and she helped USA to 4th in the medley relay.
US National Team for Dinner
With the 2015 Duel in the Pool set to take place in Indianapolis, just down the street from Adams home, her family invited her USA teammates over for their team meal. She helped team USA beat Europe with her points from a third place finish in 100 backstroke and added a 4th place finish in the 200.
2016 Olympic Trials (Omaha, Nebraska)
Coming into the summer of 2016, Adams was a heavy contender to make the Olympic team. However, just 1 week before the trials in Omaha, Adams broke her hand in a small training accident on the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, requiring surgery. Adams still competed at the Trials, but did not fare as well as many had expected, placing 46th in the 100 back (1:02.46) and 108th in the 200 back (2:19.43).