Claire Curzan Wins 200 Back Redemption NCAA Title, Swims #6 Performance Ever (1:47.64)


Claire Curzan was well off her best in the 100 fly and 100 back on the third night of the 2023 NCAA Championships, clocking times of 50.09 and 50.08 respectively despite holding personal bests of 49.24 and 49.46. However, she didn’t let one disappointing night define her entire meet, as she bounced back the next day to win the 200 back and claim her first-ever NCAA title.

Curzan clocked a time of 1:47.64 to win by over a second, swimming the sixth-fastest performance of all-time. She was 0.21 seconds off her personal best of 1:47.43, which was set earlier at Pac-12s and is the fourth-fastest performance of all-time.

All-Time Top Performances, Women’s 200-Yard Back:

  1. Regan Smith, Riptide — 1:47.16 (2019)
  2. Beata Nelson, Wisconsin — 1:47.24 (2019)
  3. Kathleen Baker, Cal — 1:47.30 (2018)
  4. Claire Curzan, Stanford — 1:47.43 (2023)
  5. Taylor Ruck, Stanford — 1:47.59 (2019)
  6. Claire Curzan, Stanford — 1:47.64 (2023)

The race wasn’t a blowout for Curzan from the beginning—she had to fend off several swimmers in the lanes next to her. It was Olivia Bray who had touched the wall first at the 50, and at the halfway point Curzan was only leading by 0.14 seconds. However, Curzan really picked things up on the back half, swimming her third 50 0.47 seconds faster than everyone else and also swimming the fastest final 50 of the field.

Down below, you can see how Curzan’s splits compare to those of the other top swimmers in the heat.

Women’s 200 Back, Comparative Splits:

Claire Curzan, 2023 NCAA Championships Phoebe Bacon, 2023 NCAA Championships Isabelle Stadden, 2023 NCAA Championships
50y 25.52 26.03 25.62
100y 27.16 27.37 27.20
150y 27.21 27.68 27.86
200y 27.75 28.20 28.70
Total 1:47.64 1:49.28 1:49.38

“After yesterday, I wanted to come in with a clean slate and believe in myself,” Curzan said in her post-race interview. “Knowing my team was there cheering for me really pushed me on the last 50.”

“Every race is a learning experience, I know there’s a lot of hard work that I put in this season and I didn’t want to let one day write my entire season so I chose to make today a good day.”

Race Video:

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VA Steve
1 day ago

Terrific meet!

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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