Claire Curzan Lowers 100 Fly World Junior Record During Grueling Final Night at Short Course Worlds

CURZAN Claire USA Women's 100m Butterfly Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates 20/12/21 Etihad Arena FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) Photo Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Claire Curzan -- Photo Courtesy: Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Claire Curzan Lowers 100 Fly World Junior Record During Grueling Final Night at Short Course Worlds

The busiest swimmer during the final session of the Short Course World Championships was 17-year-old American Claire Curzan. The Cary, N.C., native had already won individual bronze in the 50 butterfly (setting an American record in the process) and three relay medals (including one gold) before she raced in four finals during the two-and-a-half-hour finals session Tuesday. She ended up with two more medals, a gold and a bronze, plus a world junior record.

First, Curzan swam the second leg of the U.S. women’s 200 freestyle relay, and she split 23.40 for the quickest split on the American squad and fifth-fastest split of the race. Curzan and teammates Abbey WeitzeilKatharine Berkoff and Kate Douglass secured a gold medal by three tenths over Sweden.

Next, Curzan raced in the 100 butterfly final, which she entered as the second seed after tying Anastasiya Shkurdai’s world junior record in the semifinals. Curzan was in second place at the turn behind fellow American and future Stanford teammate Torri Huske, and she ended up finishing third in 55.39, taking 0.25 off the record she had tied the day before and earning an individual bronze medal.

“I was coming out of the 200 free relay so I was really excited – I was kind of riding a high wave for Team USA after winning,” Curzan said, according to USA Swimming. “I’m honored to have another record, I think it is an amazing opportunity and a blessing to have, and it was great having Torri in my heat to help push me and comfort me and support me.”

Later on in the session, Curzan took sixth in the 50 freestyle final, and then she swam the butterfly leg on the U.S. women’s 400 medley relay. That squad ended up finishing fourth, less than three tenths away from capturing a medal, and Curzan split 55.61, understandably a bit slower after a busy night of racing.

Curzan finished the meet with six total medals, two individual and four relay medals and two of each color. After missing out on the 100 fly final at the Tokyo Olympics (where she later won a silver medal as a prelims relay swimmer), this was Curzan’s first senior-level international meet, and she made it a valuable one as she provided a key role in the sprint events for the U.S. women.

“It was honestly amazing,” she said about competing at Short Course Worlds, according to USA Swimming. “It felt a lot longer that I was expecting, but I have had a blast the entire time and I’m so lucky to be able to compete in so many relays and so many individual events. It was a great meet, and I’m so excited to compete for Team USA again and hopefully in the future.”

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