Kate Douglass Swims Fastest-Ever Freshman Time in 200 Yard IM at ACC Champs


  • When: Wednesday, February 19th to Saturday, February 22nd | Prelims 10:00 am | Finals 6:00 pm (1650 prelims Saturday at 4:00 pm)
  • Where: Greensboro Aquatic Center, Greensboro, North Carolina (Eastern Time Zone)
  • Defending Champion: North Carolina State University (NC State) (1x) (results)
  • Streaming: ACC Network
  • Championship Central: Here
  • Detailed Timeline: Here
  • Psych Sheets: Here
  • Live Results

University of Virginia freshman Kate Douglass won her first career individual ACC Conference title on Thursday evening in Greensboro in the women’s 200 IM, and in the process posted one of the fastest times in history.

Douglass swam a 1:51.36, which broke several records. For starters, it is a new ACC Conference Record, breaking her 1:52.84 from UVA’s mid-season meet. It also broke the ACC Meet Record of 1:53.90 that she set in prelims on Thursday – the Meet Record previously was Alexia Zevnik’s 1:54.44 from 2017. That makes a 3-full-second drop of the Meet Record in one day.

The swim also broke Missy Franklin‘s Pool Record which was set at the 2015 NCAA Championships. Franklin, primarily known as a backstroker and freestyler, was the 2015 NCAA Champion in the 200 IM when she set that record. That came at the same meet where she set the American Record in the 200 free (1:39.10) that still stands, and also won the 200 back in 1:47.91.

Douglass’ swim is the 4th-best performance ever, and the fastest ever by a freshman.

The time also broke the 17-18 National Age Group Record. The previous fastest time by a collegiate freshman, and a 17-18, came in 2016 when Stanford’s Ella Eastin swam 1:51.65. It’s also the fastest time ever at a non-NCAA Championship meet. Douglass is one of the youngest swimmers in her class, not having turned 18 until November of her freshman year.

Douglass is far-from-assured of an NCAA title, in spite of the breakthrough on Thursday. The defending NCAA Champion, and 2nd-fastest ever swimmer, Beata Nelson, is a senior at Wisconsin this year.

Top 5 All-Time Performances, Women’s 200 Yard IM

  1. 1:50.67 – Ella Eastin, Stanford, 2018 NCAA Championships
  2. 1:50.79 – Beata Nelson, Wisconsin, 2019 NCAA Championships
  3. 1:51.25 – Kathleen Baker, Cal – 2018 NCAA Championships
  4. 1:51.36 – Kate Douglass, Virginia – 2020 ACC Championships
  5. 1:51.62 – Meghan Small, Tennessee – 2019 SEC Championships.

Kate Douglass‘ Time Drops

Coming out of high school, Douglass was a known quantity, a national age group record holder, and the 2nd-ranked recruit in the class. We knew she had the potential to be good as a collegiate swimmer, but we didn’t suspect she would be this good in this many events this fast.

For example, coming out of high school, her best time in the 200 IM was a 1:56.09. She’s already clipped almost 5 seconds of improvement in that race.

Coming out of high school, her 3 best events were the 50 free, 200 IM, and 100 back. Now, as a freshman, she has a chance at winning 3 individual ACC titles without swimming 2 of those 3 events.

Douglass’ Best Times:

HS Best Freshman Best
50 free 21.67 21.53
100 free 47.98 47.85
100 back 53.05 52.39
100 breast 1:00.26 59.53
200 breast 2:10.59 2:06.19
100 fly 51.74 50.30
200 fly 2:04.91 1:56.04
200 IM 1:56.09 1:51.36

Olympic Outlook

In the long course200 IM, her best time is a 2:12.11, swum at December’s U.S. Open meet. That already shaved 1.4 seconds off her lifetime best in the event from the prior summer.

Douglass is the 8th-fastest American in long course in the 200 IM this season (including behind her future Virginia teammate Alex Walsh, a senior in high school, who swam 2:09.01 at the US Open). It took a 2:10.00 to be the 2nd-fastest American in the 200 IM in the 2018-2019 season, but there have already been 4 Americans faster than that this season. A field that just a year ago looked like a big opportunity now suddenly looks very crowded in this 200 IM.

With the amount of momentum Douglass has, though, if she is on-form at the Olympic Trials, it’s hard to see her not making the team somewhere. Event selection will be crucial for her, choosing her best opportunities to make the team for Tokyo, given how versatile she’s become.

Her other American ranks in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020:

LCM US Ranks 2018-2019 2019-2020
50 free 15th – 25.23 24th – 25.70
100 free 86th – 56.32 30th – 56.08
100 back N/A N/A
100 breast 22nd – 1:08.51 N/A
200 breast 18th – 2:28.00 N/A
100 fly 16th – 58.53 5th – 58.48
200 fly N/A N/A
200 IM 19th – 2:13.55 8th – 2:12.11

She’s not super close to the team in any specific event in long course yet, but given her short course drops, we have to assume she’s going to see some big movement this summer. Right now, her closest events to qualifying are probably the 200 IM and the 100 fly.

The 100 fly comes on days 1 and 2 of the Olympic Trials, while the 200 IM comes on days 3 and 4, the 200 breaststroke comes on days 5 and 6, and the 50 free falls on days 7 and 8, so that’s a lineup that could lay out very nicely for her. The 100 free, where Douglass could seek a relay spot, overlaps with the 200 breaststroke on days 5 and 6.

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1 year ago

Drop five seconds in just one season in Charlottesville…

DeSorbo Effect
Reply to  Yup
1 year ago

They call it the DESORBO effect 😉

Much more to come! GO HOOS!

1 year ago

UVA are some 🤡 for tweeting she broke the NCAA record when two people in the NCAA have been faster

Reply to  Yolo
1 year ago

They should know better, but to be fair, it looks like on the live results that the ACC had it listed wrong.

Reply to  Yolo
1 year ago

The ACC tweeted it out as an NCAA record, and three people have been faster (Eastin, Baker, Beata)

Reply to  Yolo
1 year ago

Meet program and LiveStats have the record wrong. ACC holding the meet in North Carolina, so must have had a Tar Heel doing the math

1 year ago

You said her top 3 events in high school were 50 free, 100 back, and 200 IM. Since when is a 53.0 100 back considered better than a 51.7 100 fly?

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago


Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

How are these power points calculated? The U.S. Open record for the 100 back is faster than the 100 fly…

1 year ago

Really think she was past vertical fly to back transition…then corrected.

1 year ago

Do you guys like Kate Douglass on this website? Oh, I couldn’t tell…

1 year ago

I’m pretty sure she is swimming the 100 fly at ACCs, actually. Your article mentioned she isn’t. Maybe you know something we don’t?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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