Dutch Olympian and World Championship medalist Kira Toussaint has announced that she’s committed to continuing her training at the University of Tennessee, her alma mater, through the 2024 Olympic Games while also working as a volunteer assistant with the collegiate program.
Toussaint, who represented the Lady Vols in the NCAA for two seasons from 2015 to 2017, made her return to Knoxville earlier this year in the lead-up to the 2022 championship season.
After exhausting her NCAA eligibility in 2017, Toussaint returned home to the Netherlands to train with Dutch National Team coach Mark Faber.
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The 28-year-old is coming off a solid summer in the pool, though she was unable to match her career-best performances from 2021.
Toussaint won a bronze medal as a member of the Dutch mixed 400 medley relay at the 2022 World Championships, and also made a pair of individual finals, placing sixth in the women’s 100 backstroke and eighth in the 50 back.
Less than two months later at the European Championships, the Amstelveen native won bronze in the women’s 100 back, placed fourth in the 50 back, and added a pair of relay medals, including a gold on the mixed 400 medley.
During her time training under Faber in the Netherlands, Toussaint evolved into one of the best female backstrokers in the world, including breaking the world record in the SCM 50 back during the 2020 International Swimming League (ISL) season.
She was also a finalist at the Tokyo Olympics in the summer of 2021, placing seventh in the women’s 100 back. That was her second Olympic appearance, having represented the Netherlands in 2016, where she finished 18th in the 100 back.
Collegiately, Toussaint swam her first two seasons in the NCAA at Florida Gulf Coast, becoming an All-American and resetting numerous program records.
Following the 2014-15 campaign, she transferred to Tennessee, where she earned eight more All-America honors while winning a trio of SEC titles.
A pro swimmer taking on a volunteer assistant coaching role with the collegiate program is not an uncommon move, as it allows them greater latitude to travel and train with teams that would not necessarily be afforded to them as just a post-graduate trainee. Katie Ledecky, for example, is a volunteer assistant with the Florida Gators.