Swimming on Wednesday at the New York High School Section 1 Girls’ Championships, 14-year old Kate Douglass, a sophomore at Pelham High School, had the fastest time in prelims of the 50 free – and in record-setting fashion. She swam a 22.32, which sets her up to defend her section 1 title in the event.
Once the swim is ratified by USA Swimming (this was not a USA Swimming meet, but if officials are properly certified, records can be set in high school competition), Douglass will be the new 13-14 National Age Group Record holder in the 50 yard freestyle. The old record of 22.44 was set by the legendary Dara Torres in 1982. At 34-years old, it was the oldest 13-14 short course record left on the books (none now is older than Katie Hoff’s 400 IM from 2004). Torres would go on to qualify for the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team just 2 years later and win a gold medal as part of the American 400 free relay. That was the start of 5 Olympic appearances spanning 24 years for the legendary Torres, who also counts among her accomplishments 3 NCAA individual national titles and 6 University of Florida relay national titles.
The swim was the last Dara Torres National Age Group Record remaining on USA Swimming’s record books.
Douglass’ previous best time of 22.48 was done in April.
She’ll turn 15 on the day before the New York State Championship meet starts on November 18th, meaning that this Sectional Championship is one of her last chances at 13-14 records. She will have a club meet on November 13th that could be a target for any final record attempts.
While she will have aged up by the state meet, she’ll still have goals for that meet though – last year, after winning the 50 and 100 freestyle state titles, Douglass said her goals this year were to repeat in the 50 and add a title in the 100 to her trophy case. She began that quest positively on Wednesday with a 1:01.72 in the 100 breaststroke to take the top seed into finals there as well. That’s a new lifetime best for her and ties her with Annie Zhu for 10th on the all-time age group rankings.
Douglass also split 22.09 on a 200 free relay anchor and led off Pelham’s 400 free relay in 48.99 – the latter of which breaks the New York State Record as well. She does her club swimming under Carleanne Fierro at the Westchester Aquatic Club.