World Junior Champion Kate Hurst Flips Commitment From Northwestern To Texas (2024)

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Kate Hurst, the 2023 World Junior Champion in the 1500 free, changed her verbal commitment to the University of Texas for the fall of 2024. She initially committed to Northwestern University in October 2022. Notably, that commitment came before Northwestern replaced a good portion of their coaching staff this summer, with former head coach Katie Robinson, associate head coach Andrew Hogdson, and assistant Kim Williams leaving the program. In turn, Northwestern has named Rachel Stratton-Millis as head coach and Margaret Howe and Jacob Siar as assistants.

Last Tuesday, Hurst was named onto the 2023-24 U.S. National Team for the 1500 free.

I am thrilled to announce my verbal commitment to continue my athletic and academic career at the University of Texas! Grateful for all the people who have supported me throughout this process and have helped me along the way. A huge thanks to Coach Carol and Coach Mitch for this amazing opportunity. HOOK’EM 🤘🏻🧡🤠

In SwimSwam’s rankings for the high school class of 2024, Hurst was put in the “best of the rest” category. However, she had a massive summer in long course to make herself one of the top swimmers in her class.

At the 2023 World Junior Championships, Hurst won the 1500 free by nearly nine seconds, posting a time of 16:09.37. That time is considerably faster than her short course 1650 free best time (which was set in March 2022), indicating that she could have some big yards time drops coming soon. Hurst’s mile time has her ranked 4th in the United States for 2023, and 3rd amongst active swimmers (Kensey McMahon, who is ranked third in the U.S. for the mile, said that she has put swimming “on pause”). She is also ranked 12th in the nation for the 800 free.

Although Katie Ledecky and Katie Grimes have dominated the 1500 free amongst American women, Hurst’s times this year make her a dark horse candidate for 2024 U.S. Olympic team qualification. In one season, she improved from a time of 16:37.22 to 16:09.37 in the 1500 free, from 8:45.83 to 8:34.11 in the 800 free, and from 4:15.49 to 4:11.71 in the 400 free.

Hurst’s Best Times (SCY):

  • 200 free: 1:48.69
  • 500 free: 4:46.32
  • 1000 free: 9:49.61
  • 1650 free: 16:30.10

Hurst’s Best Times (LCM):

  • 400 free: 4:11.71
  • 800 free: 8:34.11
  • 1500 free: 16:09.37

In the fall of 2024, Hurst will join a long list of prominent female distance swimmers in Texas. Some of them include 2023 U.S. Worlds team members Jillian Cox and Erin Gemmell,  as well as 2020(1) Olympic silver medalist Erica Sullivan. She is also the fourth major Texas recruit in her class, following #10 and World Juniors medalistPiper Enge, #16 Lillie Nesty, and “honorable mention” Campbell Chase.

Had Hurst stayed committed to Northwestern, she would have been arguably one of the best recruits in the history of the women’s team—a World Junior Champion and a U.S. National Team member would have been a huge boost to a team that has only had one Big Ten title winner since 2008.

Hurst is from Hillsdale, New Jersey and competes for the Scarlet Aquatic Club.

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8 days ago

How many coaching changes has Northwestern had in the last ten years…………..first correct answer gets a Wildcat fanny pack.

Sherry Smit
8 days ago

Should be fun to watch her yards swims this season

Reply to  Sherry Smit
8 days ago

I wouldn’t count on lots of yards swims. It’s an Olympic year and I’d expect her to be focused on long course.

Sorin Sorensen
8 days ago

Northwestern is punching the air rn

8 days ago

Maybe we should change “commitment” to “thinking about going here right now.”

Reply to  Swimpop
8 days ago

It’s a little different when the nearly the entire coaching staff that recruited you is gone. More than anything a verbal commitment is a sign to other programs to stop recruiting an athlete. There are always going to be coaches that don’t honor that, but most wouldn’t have a recruiting conversation with someone unless they decommitted. When a staff gets a verbal commitment they know the recruitment does not stop. Really have to stay on a kid until an NIL is signed.

Reply to  oxyswim
8 days ago

All well said. Just a typo to fix – it’s * NLI* and not NIL

Reply to  Swimgeek
7 days ago

It is kind of both now.

8 days ago

how many distance swimming kates/katies are there going to be

Little green vegetable
Reply to  jeff
8 days ago


Peregrin Falcon
8 days ago

Smart decision making that change

9 days ago

Think it is fair to say she is the 4th major recruit in the class considering Lillie Nesty is also committed for 2024.

Here for the crazy show
Reply to  Hereforthecrazyshow
8 days ago

Thanks for updating Lillie’s name, but now it still says 3 major recruits for 2024.

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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