University of Texas swimmer Claire Adams, the 2020 unanimous Big 12 Swimmer of the Year award winner, has announced her retirement from competitive swimming.
Adams is the 2nd international-caliber backstroker in the graduating class of 2020 to announce that she would retire rather than push through to next summer’s rescheduled Olympic Trials, joining 21-time All-American from Kentucky Asia Seidt.
Adams made the announcement in an interview with the Indy Star, her hometown paper – she graduated from suburban Carmel High School.
“I think a lot of us get caught up in the, ‘Oh, I didn’t win at nationals. Or I never swam in an Olympic Trials final.’ That was something that was on my radar,” she told the Indy Star. “I did some cool stuff I should be proud of. I have a lot to work through and think about and reflect on from my 12 years.”
After making her first Olympic Trials appearance in 2012 at just 13-years old, Adams entered the 2016 US Olympic Trials as a member of the US National Team, even as a high school swimmer. Hardship struck when she broke her hand the week before the meet. While she still raced, the injury impacted her performance and she finished 46th in the 100 back and 108th in the 200 back.
Adams went on to be a star at the University of Texas, earning 3 Big 12 Swimmer of the Year awards, 19 All-America selections, and 17 Big 12 event titles. At the end of the 2019-2020 NCAA season, which didn’t end with an NCAA Championship meet because of the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic, she was ranked 4th in the country in the 100 yard back, having swum a lifetime best of 50.51 at Big 12s – which would ultimately be her last career meet.
Adams ended the 2019 long course season with a season-best of 1:01.92, which ranked her outside of the top 50 Americans in the event. She never again broke a minute after her breakout 59.58 at the 2015 Summer National Championships at 17.
Adams was primed to finish her college career on a high note, saying that she was “in a different place” during that season. But, she leaves the sport without regrets.
“I’m a very healthy human being,” she said. “I have people around me who love me and support me. What do I have to complain about in this moment?”
Now Adams will leave her swimming career behind for new pursuits. She is the recipient of a postgraduate teacher certification scholarship from the Texas Athletics/College Football Playoff Foundation, and she will spend the next year as a student-teacher with 2nd graders.
“She’s really looking forward to seeing who Claire Adams is without swimming,” Capitani said. “That’s scary when something has helped define who you are for so long.
“She definitely has the tools to do exciting things. She just hasn’t done them yet.”