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Freestyler and backstroker Grace Dougherty of Carmel, Indiana, has committed to swim for the UCLA Bruins beginning in the fall of 2024.
“I am beyond excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic career at UCLA. I am so grateful for my family, teammates, and coaches who made this dream possible. Thank you to everyone at UCLA for giving me this incredible opportunity. GO BRUINS!!!”
In 2020, Dougherty’s family moved from Huntsville, Alabama to Carmel, Indiana; Dougherty left Whitesburg Christian Academy and Huntsville Swim Association and now attends Carmel High School and competes year-round for Carmel Swim Club (IN). Dougherty is in her junior year at Carmel High School and will graduate in the spring of 2024.
Most of Dougherty’s short course best times come from the 2021 season. At the 2021 Winter Junior National Championships East, she hit best times in her 50-yard free (23.42) and her 100-yard free (50.79), both as lead-off legs for Carmel Swim Club’s 4×50 and 4×100 freestyle relays. In November 2021, at the Carmel Swim Club Fall Frenzy, Dougherty hit her best time in the 200-yard back, placing 4th in 2:02.32.
Dougherty had a good 2022 long-course season hitting best times and Winter Junior National qualifying times in her 100/200-meter backstrokes (1:04.60, 2:19.40) at the Indiana Senior LCM Championships. Her only 2022 short-course best time in sprint freestyle or backstroke was at the Speedo Winter Junior National Championships East in December, where she hit a best time in the 100-yard backstroke with a 55.73.
Best Time SCY:
- 50 free — 23.42
- 100 free — 50.79
- 100 back — 55.73
- 200 back — 2:02.32
- 200 IM — 2:06.04
This past season, UCLA reached their 3rd straight 4th place finish at the PAC12 Conference Championships. With her current times, Dougherty is just out of finals scoring range for her best events. On day one, she would have placed 45th in the 50 free, with super senior Claire Grover being the highest-scoring Bruin in that event (4th, 22.10). Dougherty would’ve placed 28th in the 100-yard back, with senior Sophia Kosturos as UCLA’s lone A finalist (8th, 53.27), and only 2 other Bruin swimmers in finals.
In the 200 back on day 3, Dougherty would’ve placed 36th with no Bruin A finalists in that event. 2022 senior Delaney Smith was UCLA’s highest scorer in 14th place with 1:57.35. The 100-yard free, another one of Dougherty’s best events, is also on day 3 of PAC12s. Dougherty would have tied for 41st with UCLA junior Madeleine Wright in a 50.79. Super-senior Claire Grover was 6th in 48.52. Due to schedule, Dougherty could swim the 50 free/100 back/200 back lineup, or the 100 back/100 free and 200 back double on the final day.
Dougherty is the first verbal commitment for UCLA’s class of 2028. As of right now, USC and UCLA are due to join the Big 10 conference come 2024, marking a big loss for the PAC 12 which already only has 8 participating teams in women’s swimming and diving, leaving only 6 remaining.
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