Trials Mixed Zone: Kate Douglass on 200 IM “My body was starting to give out”


Reported by James Sutherland.


  • World Record: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2:06.12 (2015)
  • American Record: Ariana Kukors – 2:06.15 (2009)
  • US Open Record: Kathleen Baker (USA) – 2:08.32 (2018)
  • World Junior Record: Yu Yiting (CHN) – 2:09.64 (2021)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2:06.58
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Maya DiRado – 2:09.54
  • Wave I Cut: 2:17.39
  • Wave II Cut: 2:15.26
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 2:12.56
  1. Alex Walsh (NAC), 2:09.30
  2. Kate Douglass (UVA), 2:09.32
  3. Madisyn Cox (TXLA), 2:09.34

This meet has had no shortage of unbelievably close three-way finishes, and we might’ve just seen the best one yet.

Alex Walsh came in riding the momentum of hitting a personal best in the semi-finals, and used her strength, the middle 100, to move into the lead after Torri Huske had blasted the fly leg in 26.52.

Madisyn Cox made her move on the breaststroke, taking over second at the 150, and looked to be on the way to finally earning her first Olympic berth. Walsh’s UVA teammate Kate Douglass began to make her push on the freestyle, and then it was the three of them—Walsh, Cox and Douglass—neck and neck in the closing meters.

Despite her stroke tying up at the end, Walsh held on for the win, touching in 2:09.30 to qualify for her first Olympic team, over four tenths slower than the semis.

Douglass, who came back in 31.04, clocked 2:09.32, and Cox lifted her head at the finish, registering a time of 2:09.34. Douglass’ swim improves on her best of 2:09.99 set in the semi-finals. The 19-year-old is now the ninth-fastest American in history, and also the fifth-fastest woman in the world this season.


That gives the Virginia teammates Walsh and Douglass the two Olympic berths, and it marks the first time since 2000 that four different women make it in the medley events.

It’s a painfully close third-place finish for Cox, who set a best time of 2:08.51 earlier this season and placed fourth in both IM events in 2016.

Huske, who was almost eight-tenths under world record pace with her 50 fly split, ended up fourth in 2:10.38, improving on her previous best of 2:11.18 and moving up from sixth to fourth all-time in the 17-18 age group.

Meghan Small picked up fifth in 2:11.65, producing a strong 1:07.9 back-half, while Melanie Margalis, arguably the favorite coming in, was back in sixth in 2:11.77.

Margalis’ bid for a second straight Olympic berth appears all but over after missing in the 400 IM and dropping the 200 freestyle. In Rio, Margalis took fourth in the 200 IM.

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Awsi Dooger
2 years ago

As long as she understands that comebacks don’t work in the Olympics. You can’t cede ground in an event in which everyone is peaking for maximum performance. The lead holds. Outlier examples are irrelevant. I can’t count how many times I’ve watched swimming and track athletes flabbergasted that their preferred late closing style was thwarted by frontrunners who had the audacity to keep going.

Reply to  Awsi Dooger
2 years ago

It’s IM there are always lead changes, and since Katinka isn’t in her top form, Walsh or Douglass could medal or even win the event.

Reply to  Awsi Dooger
2 years ago

i guess you haven’t watched many IM races? This isn’t 100 free

Reply to  Awsi Dooger
2 years ago
Reply to  Walter
2 years ago

Just the mention of that race gets me hyped, that one was insane to watch live

2 years ago

This girl is so exciting to watch. She reels people in the last 15 meters of her races. Also keeps pulling PB’s in the last year. East coast represent!

Last edited 2 years ago by Chris
Reply to  Chris
2 years ago

Those last few freestyle strokes under the flags were just magical. It’s like she just knew how to time it perfectly to get in for second.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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