Kate Douglass Is First To Win Individual NCAA Titles In Three Different Strokes

by Daniel Takata 35

March 21st, 2022 ACC, College, News, SwimmingStats

Virginia’s Kate Douglass had a very impressive NCAA Championship performance, breaking American records in three individual events and being chosen as the swimmer of the year in the 2022 Swammy Awards.

Three American records in the same meet is a feat for a few. Let alone in three diverse events like the 50 free, 100 butterfly and 200 breaststroke. And Douglass already is an Olympic bronze medalist in the 200 IM. So versatile.

But how rare is winning individual events in three different strokes at the same NCAA Division I meet? It’s incredibly rare. So rare that Douglass is the first swimmer, man or woman, to achieve this feat – not considering individual medley events as “stroke” races.

There are some swimmers who have won events in two different strokes, mainly freestyle and butterfly events, like Mark Spitz (1969), Dara Torres (1988) and Caeleb Dressel (2017, 2018). Some have won freestyle and backstroke events, like Alan Ford (1944), John Naber (1975) and Missy Franklin (2015).

Winning a breaststroke event and an event in another stroke is much rarer. Before Douglass, only John Schmieler (1932, 220 freestyle and 220 breaststroke), Richard Fadgen (1956, 220 breaststroke and 200 butterfly), Tracy Caulkins (1984, 100 breaststroke and 200 butterfly) and Andrew Seliskar (2019, 200 freestyle and 200 breaststroke) managed to do that.

Caulkins is the only swimmer ever to own American records in all four strokes. But even she didn’t manage to win individual events in three different strokes at the NCAA level. In 1984, she won the 100 breaststroke and the 200 butterfly, along with the 200 IM and 400 IM. It was close, but we are not considering the individual medley races here. If we factor in relay events, Caulkins also won freestyle events in 1984, as Florida won the 400 and 800 free relays.

But winning events in three different strokes individually? Only Kate Douglass in 2022. Winning the 50 freestyle + 200 breaststroke combo is unprecedented, as well as the 100 butterfly + 200 breaststroke duo.

Truly a performance for the ages.

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1 year ago

Lochte in 2006

1st 200 IM 1:40.55 AR
400 MR Lead off 44.60 AR (Grevers won 100 Back in 45.93)
200 MR lead off 21.26 (In prelims, faster than any other backstroke split in prelims and finals)
1st 400 IM 3:38.15
800 FR lead off 1:33.51 (Simon Burnett had the only faster lead off in 1:33.41)
1st 200 Back 1:37.68 AR
400 FR lead off 42.44 (again only trailing Burnett)

Last edited 1 year ago by Drewbrewsbeer
1 year ago

Coughlin is worth mentioning for *could have. She went 11/12 in individual events, and would have been competitive in a given year in the 50-200 frees and 200 IM as well!

1 year ago

No doubt Kate will go down in NCAA history as having one of the greatest single meet performances of all time. I can only think of Coughlin in 2002, Caulkins in 1986, or Eastin in 2018 as equally dominant.

And the craziest thing is that she’ll be back next year to see if she can’t better her own records one more time.

1 year ago

Not as cool as Douglass, but worth mentioning that Georgia’s Javi Acevado had a strange multi stroke lineup at NCAAs last year. He was on the 200 free relay (18.61), took 8th in the 200 IM (1:41.72/1:42.91), swam free on the 400 medley relay (42.33), placed 7th in the 100 back (44.95/45.06), swam the breaststroker leg on the 200 medley relay (23.40), took 8th in the 200 back (1:39.60/1:41.80), and then swam on the 400 free relay (42.38).

1 year ago

Shout out Coach Fadgen 1956!

1 year ago

From the archives….at the 1979 SC Nationals, 16 year old Caulkins had the impressive double win of 100 Breast and, 2 events later, the 500 Free. The breast times have long been eclipsed, but the 500 in 4:36.25 would have qualified 2nd out of prelims at NCAAs last week, and finished 5th in the final. Same meet she also led off the 400FR with an American Record. Also at same meet, 16 year old Kim Linehan swam the 1650 in 15:49.10, good enough for 6th at this year’s NCAA. Not too shabby for 43 years ago. Good write-up here: Caulkins gave ’em five – Sports Illustrated Vault | SI.com

1 year ago

One can say: Well, 3 titles in 3 different strokes. Why not if the field is weak.
But no, it was done with American records. And that what is really unique and I’m sure won’t be repeated again. Never.
But despite this meet was excitingly fast we haven’t seen performances that gave us hope for the gold medals in Olympic events.
Kate Douglass is exceptionally good underwater swimmer.

1 year ago

How common is it to have undies that dirty not great backstroke (all extremely relative obviously)?

Dressel and Douglass seem to have filthy quick face down underwaters but not quite the same speed on their backs.

Reply to  Togger
1 year ago

She had something like a 23.3 in the 50 back at the sprint olympics that UVA had a couple weeks ago, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she gets her 100 back up to speed in the next season

Reply to  jeff
1 year ago

Can someone set up a sprint Olympics style match just like UVA did between Sates, Marchand, C. Foster, K. Smith, and Hugo? Who would you put your money on?

Reply to  Togger
1 year ago

Swimming is the only time “dirty undies” can be seen as a positive

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Togger
1 year ago

The anti-Lochte