NCAA Medalist Robert Howard Retires From Swimming, Won’t Race At Trials


2019 NCAA medalist Robert Howard has retired from competitive swimming and will therefore not be present at the 2021 Olympic Trials. Howard holds a PB in the 50 free of 22.00 and a 48.37 in the 100 freestyle. Those times would have given him an 8th place rank in both events at Trials.

Those times and rankings are improvements upon his placements at 2016 Olympic Trials where he placed 45th in the 50 free (23.03) and 54th in the 100 (50.65).

Without Howard, Tate Jackson (who also isn’t entered at Trials), and Jack Conger (who is entered the meet but not in the 100 free), that means 3 of the would-be top 10 seeds in the 100 free at the Olympic Trials won’t be racing the event.

Howard told SwimSwam on Thursday that he retired after the 2020 ISL season. He went back to Alabama in May, but that things just “didn’t work out,” and he decided to retire. He joins other members of that Alabama pro group Margo Geer and Ian Finnerty in announcing retirements within a few months of the Olympic Trials.

Having graduated with an accounting degree from the University of Alabama, Howard began studying for the CPA exam in January of 2021. He has a job lined up with Deloitte, the largest professional services provider in the world, in Atlanta this fall.

Howard raced for Alabama collegiately from 2015 until 2019 and raced for the Tide at NCAAs in all four of his years at the school. After racing as a member of the relays in 2016 and 2017, Howard has a breakout 2017-2018 season and wound up placing seventh in the 50 free (19.09), 10th in the 100 free (41.81), 23rd in the 200 free (1:34.42) at the 2018 NCAA Championships.

During his senior year, Howard took gold in both the 50 and 100 free at SECs and went on to pick up bronze in the 50 free at NCAAs and 5th in the 100 free.

Howard raced internationally for the US at the 2019 World University Games as a member of the 4×100 freestyle relay. He, along with Zach Apple, Dean Farris, and Tate Jackson delivered a 3:11.03 gold medal performance to beat out Brazil’s 3:15.27 for silver and Italy’s 3:15.91 for bronze.

Howard represented DC Trident during the 2020 ISL season and contributed to a number of their relays. In his only individual race, Howard swam the 50 freestyle at match 4, placing 8th with a 21.94.

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Alec Scott
10 days ago

Congratulations to a friend and teammate on a great career.

No one ever expected Robert Howard to be winning individual SEC Champioships, going 18.7 and 41.5 as well as 22.00 and 48.3 in the long pool.

Bob blew away expectations at every level👏

Last edited 10 days ago by Alec Scott
Reply to  Alec Scott
9 days ago

His finger guns celebration from 2019 NCAA’s still gives me chills

10 days ago

He seems to have a good future lined up ahead of himself. I wish him the best of luck in accounting!

Reply to  Khachaturian
9 days ago

A job at Deloitte is super impressive, all credit to him

Sprint Lord
Reply to  PVSFree
9 days ago

It’s all fun and games until you work 70 hour weeks and want to die

Dirk Digler
10 days ago

Are these retierments with the Bama pro group linked to displeasure? Is Ryan Held still training there?

Reply to  Dirk Digler
9 days ago

This happened a while ago when Coley was still there and coaching. Robert Howard has been retired for a while now. SwimSwam just didn’t report on it due to not knowing until now

Last edited 9 days ago by JCO
Reply to  Dirk Digler
9 days ago

Held is still training with Coley Stickels