University of Texas senior and U.S. National team member Jake Foster will likely not be using his fifth year of eligibility, which was awarded to all NCAA athletes that competed during the COVID-afflicted 2020-21 season.
“At the moment, I will be finishing my degree in the spring, and with some degree of certainty, I can say that I will not be using my 5th year of eligibility,” Foster told SwimSwam. “I may still be swimming next year as a pro, but that situation is still in flux with whether I will be enrolling in med school next fall.”
Foster also confirmed that he would be retiring from competitive swimming if he enrolled in medical school, because “it won’t be possible for [him] to balance the demand of med school and competitive swimming while doing them at the level that [he] wants to.”
Additionally, Foster’s retirement was hinted at in his younger brother Carson Foster‘s recent Instagram post, where he says his “16th and final season swimming on the same team as [Jake] starts today.”
In February 2022, Foster’s teammates from Texas posted on social media about how he got a score of 519 on his MCAT test, which is an exam required for admission to the majority of medical schools in the United States. The highest possible MCAT score is a 528, so a 519 would put Foster in the 96th percentile of all medical school applicants, according to Association of American Medical Colleges.
Foster’s potential retirement comes despite the fact that he has a chance of making long course international teams in the future, including the 2023 U.S. World Championships team and the 2024 U.S. Olympic team. At the 2022 U.S. National Championships, he finished second in the 200 breast with a time of 2:09.00, which is ranked third in the United States and just 0.16 seconds off the 2:08.84 it took to make the 2022 World Championships team.
At the 2022 U.S. International Team Trials, Foster narrowly missed the World Championship team in the 200 breast by placing third to Nic Fink and Charlie Swanson in a time of 2:09.73. He was also fifth in the 400 IM in 4:13.76 and sixth in the 200 IM in 1:58.64.
Collegiately, Foster is a high-impact swimmer, having scored 30 individual points for Texas at the 2022 NCAA Championships. He set personal best times in all three of his primary events, finishing twelfth in the 200 breast (1:51.82), eighth in the 200 IM (1:40.63), and fifth in the 400 IM (3:38.24). His PBs of 1:51.40 and 3:37.33 in the 200 breast and 400 IM respectively both came in prelims.
Foster isn’t the only Texas swimmer to retire from competitive swimming due to med school, as 2017 World Championship medalist Madisyn Cox also recently hung up her goggles after not making the 2020 Olympic team to enroll in med school.