Kate Douglass: “I See Retirement In The Near Future…I’m Looking Forward To It”

Yanyan Li
by Yanyan Li 85

November 03rd, 2023 ACC, College, National, News

On Friday, UVA sophomore Claire Curzan (next season) and pro swimmer Kate Douglass answered questions submitted for them on the Virginia Swimming and Diving Instagram account’s story, discussing topics ranging from Olympic Trials event lineups to Taylor Swift.

One question that Curzan and Douglass got was if they would ever retire from competitive swimming. Douglass had a firm “yes” answer, whereas Curzan was a bit more hesitant.

“I see retirement in the near future,” Douglass said. “I don’t know when, but it’s coming. And I’m looking forward to it.”

Meanwhile, Curzan said that she “operates on a year-to-year basis” and that her sole focus is currently on the U.S. Open. However, she stated that she loved swimming, so retirement wouldn’t be coming soon for her.

Douglass, who was one of two American women to win individual gold at the 2023 World Championships and arguably the best American female relay swimmer, would be 22 years old if she decided to retire after the Paris Olympics. It’s a relatively young age for an elite-caliber female swimmer to hang up the goggles, but it’s not unheard of—for example, five-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin retired at 23 after competing at two Olympic games and sustaining several injuries.

Currently, Douglass is doing a master’s degree in statistics at Virginia. She said on the SwimSwam podcast this August that she wanted to pursue a career in the statistics field after she was done with swimming.

In addition, Curzan and Douglass were asked about what they would swim at the upcoming 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials this coming June. Curzan said that her focus was on the 100/200 back, 50/100 free, and 100 fly. Meanwhile, Douglass said she was training for the 50/100 free, 100/200 breast, 100 fly, and 200 IM. Curzan and Douglass both are entered in the events they listed for the U.S. Open that begins on Nov. 29, though they said that they would scratch events throughout the meet.

The lineup that Curzan listed was the same as her lineup at the 2023 U.S. National Championships, while Douglass raced all the events she listed besides the 100 breast (which she entered but scratched).

Below are some of the other questions given to Curzan and Douglass, as well as their responses:

Favorite Bodo’s (bagel shop in Charlottesville) Order?

Curzan: I’ve never been, so I wouldn’t know.

Douglass: I think Bodo’s is overrated—I’m from New York. That’s not a real bagel, they don’t even toast bagels, I don’t like it at all.

What Is One Trait The Other Possesses That You Respect?

Douglass: I’d like to be able to do backstroke like (Curzan).

Curzan: I would love to do breaststroke even half as good as Kate.

Who On UVA Do You Think Will Break Out?

Douglass: I think Cavan (Gormsen) and Tess (Howley) are going to scare some people this season.

Curzan: (Gormsen and Howley) for me too. I train with them and they train really, really hard—I think that hard work will pay off.

What Is Your Favorite Event And Least Favorite Event?

Douglass: I think the 200 breast might be my favorite event. Of everything I swim, the 200 IM might be the least favorite. It’s unfortunate, but it’s OK, we’re starting to like it more.

Curzan: Least favorite? 200 fly, any day of the week, I will never change my mind about that. Favorite? Lately, I’ve been likely backstroke a lot, so any backstroke—100 or 200.

Favorite Taylor Swift Song?

Douglass: My all-time favorite is ‘Our Song’. I also love ‘All Too Well (10-minute version)’, it’s a classic

If You Had To Pick One Stroke To Do For The Rest Of Your Life, What Would It Be?

Curzan: Backstroke because it’s like warm-down all the time.

Douglass: Freestyle, but specifically sprint freestyle. 50 free.

Who’s The Better Kicker?

Curzan: Ms. Kate Douglass is the queen of kicking.

Douglass: If we had to do a pull race, (Curzan) would win. You should see my backstroke pull—it’s the worst thing ever.

What Are The Best Tips To Improve Underwaters?

Douglass: Just get really good at breath control.

Curzan: Breath control and leg strength are really important.

What Are Your Goals This Season?

Curzan: I would love to go best times in my events.

Douglass: I think it would be great to go best times at trials this summer.

What Is Your Favorite Animal?

Curzan: My favorite animals are my puppies. They are little and white, some would say they are crusty, but I think they are gorgeous.

Douglass: I don’t have a favorite animal. I just don’t.

What Is Your Favorite Candy?

Douglass: Reese’s or Twix.

Curzan: Airhead Xtreme strips or KitKats.

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Viking Steve
5 months ago

Retirement consideration is real.

She always has had a balanced perspective about swimming which actually has allowed her to have sustained success IMO. (and it is also why I’m a big fan)

I think she’ll step away for a year and then reassess about 2028. She won’t come back for fame or money though…. only if she misses it.

5 months ago

i’ve heard unofficially that walsh and douglass are on their way out after 2024.

Chris D
Reply to  Eli
5 months ago

could be. These are smart girls.

Inside scoop
5 months ago

Y’all gullible as heck

5 months ago

Tracy Caulkins retired after 1984 Olympics, age 21. Different era, fewer opportunities at that time. She also didn’t swim her senior year at Florida. Who knows, had the 1980 boycott not happened — when arguably she was at her peak — she may not have even gone on to age 21 and the 1984 games.

Lisa Simpson
Reply to  oldnotdead
5 months ago

Shane Gould retired at 16/17

Alison England
5 months ago

Becky Adlington also retired at 23.

Not-so-silent Observer
5 months ago

The UVASWIMANDDIVE INSTA posted a “jk not anytime soon” post regarding Kate’s comment about retiring.

So it was some media fun, which is UVAs M.O. regarding social media engagement.

Rest assured, Douglass will be here as long as she is having fun and stays internationally relevant

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Not-so-silent Observer
5 months ago

lol it really did seem like most of her answers were a bit tongue-in-cheek. Vibes were v different in print vs in the stories.

Reply to  Not-so-silent Observer
5 months ago

Yeah I’m not buying her retiring after next year like the Olympics at Los Angeles seems too good for her to pass it on.

Chris D
5 months ago

I think it’s great. she’s already got her career on track with a world renowned professor in her corner. Another 4 years of swimming after Paris will take away 4 years of earnings potential/networking/retirement savings from her. That’s a big chunk these days. Her timing is perfect.

That said, would love to see her swim party time and dominate US masters nationals. She wouldn’t even have to be in shape to win everything.

Reply to  Chris D
5 months ago

Yeah but you have to wonder that if she gonna let go of the opportunity to swim at Los Angeles Olympics.

Chris D
Reply to  Lisa
5 months ago

why would she? She wants to start her real life. She will make a lot more money in the real world and build relationships than putting that off for another 4 years.

5 months ago

If the USA had a better fan culture I am sure she would want to swim for longer. Instead, we criticize our best athletes even when they go lifetime bests in a lot of situations.

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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