Former US National Teamer Claire Adams Retires from Competitive Swimming

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.

Claire Adams at the 2019 NCAA Championship meet (photo: Jack Spitser)

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.”

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Congrats to Claire on a phenomenal swimming career. Best of luck into this next chapter of life! Hook em!


Congrats on an awesome career and best of luck!


Probably not a very hard decision when it seems like schoolchildren are punking your best times in your primary events.

That guy

Lot of downvotes but he does have a point… haha could have been a little nicer though


Don’t worry. I didn’t expect it to go over well


That’s honestly a pathetic thing to say.


The joys of being a realist. I think I’m starting to sympathize with Ol Longhorn


That’s when you know you’ve hit rock bottom 🙂


I think we’ve all hit rock bottom these days

Ol' Longhorn

There’s plenty of room down here.


In regards to your Ol longhorn comment: Misery loves company


Nothing better to do/say this Sunday afternoon?


Say? Perhaps.
Do? I mean you’re here too. So what are you saying really?


PVDH let’s put your collegiate swimming career on display for the commenters of Swimswam to comment on.


Oh yea I forgot you can’t have an opinion unless you’ve had the exact same life path.


Yup, in this day and age, everyone has an opinion, but when you aren’t willing to back your opinion up then we can call you a coward.


take a breath dude , chill out & relax : thats what u need right now


Nice…. but congrats to Claire on a great career!


But her best swim was at 17. She was a great high school swimmer and maintained from there. Maybe Carol failed her a bit?


Top D1 coaches in any sport are interested in recruiting existing talent (in this case fast, elite swimmers) then develop them. Would a coach rather try and develop a swimmer to be an 18-19 second 50 freestyler or would they rather recruit one who already has a time in that range? They would pick the latter 99% of the time.


So true! I remember going on a recruiting visit to Penn years ago with my daughter who was a four practice a week swimmer who had never lifted weights but still a Club Nats qualifier. She also had a strong academic record and perfect SAT scores, The Coach who invited her was a half hour late to our meeting and acted like he didn’t know why he invite her. He never got back to her afterwards. She ended up going to a top D3 program. Five years later we were back at Penn for an event and looking at their record board I noticed that our daughter’s college times would have made her the Penn record holder in her premier… Read more »


Wow, good for your daughter!!! Sounded like she picked the right school athletically and academically. I had similar experiences when I went on recruiting visits. Coaches seemed uninterested and only talked about themselves. Also, I have talked with lots of coaches who are not really that great at actually coaching on deck but have the resources to recruit so they do not need to coach the athlete who is already great that they recruited!

Coach Mac

Let me guess PVDH … your part of the I deserve a trophy generation because you have never accomplished anything on your own so you feel it makes you important to bash a 3x SOTY, Olympic Trials qualifier, 17x Big X!! Champ, 19x All American ….. your not worthy to dust her trophy case much less criticize her accomplishments!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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