Kate Douglass Cracks 200 Breaststroke American Record Again in Cavalier Invite Time Trial

Kate Douglass -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Kate Douglass Beats 200 Breaststroke American Record Again in Cavalier Invite Time Trial

For the third time in less than one year, Kate Douglass has knocked off the American record in the 200-yard breaststroke. Swimming in a time trial Saturday evening at the Cavalier Invitational — held in her home pool at the University of Virginia — Douglass posted a mark of 2:01.43, knocking a half-second off the previous record of 2:01.87 at the Tennessee Invitational in November.

Last season, Douglass lowered Lilly King’s 2018 American record of 2:02.60, so she now ranks more than a second quicker than any other swimmer in history in the 200 breast. In her latest top effort, Douglass swam slightly faster on the first and last 50-yard splits of the race compared to her November time.

Splits from 2022 NCAA Championships: 27.84, 58.98 (31.14), 1:30.54 (31.56), 2:02.19 (31.65)
Splits from 2022 Tennessee Invitational: 27.94, 58.76 (30.82), 1:30.25 (31.49), 2:01.87 (31.62)
Splits from 2023 Cavalier Invitational: 27.71, 58.59 (30.88), 1:30.12 (31.53), 2:01.43 (31.31)

In the past year, Douglass has quickly burst onto the scene in the 200 breaststroke after focusing on sprint freestyle and butterfly early in her college career and making her mark on the international stage in the 200 IM, winning an Olympic bronze medal in 2021. But in 2022, Douglass claimed bronze in the 200-meter breast at the World Championships, and then she captured a short course (meters) world title in the event in December.

Prior to her 200 breast record, Douglass swam in prelims in the 100 backstroke, a rare appearance in the only stroke in which she has never broken an American record (she also owns the marks in the 50 free and 100 fly). Douglass swam a time of 50.47 in the 100 back, which ranks as the third-fastest time in the country entering conference championship season, with only Virginia teammate Gretchen Walsh and Stanford’s Claire Curzan having been quicker.

In other action in Charlottesville Saturday evening, Virginia freshman Aimee Canny posted a mark of 1:42.78 in the 200 free, which is the No. 2 time in the country, just behind Texas’ Kelly Pash (1:42.73). The relatively unknown Canny now could be another big factor for Virginia in the Cavaliers’ pursuit of a third consecutive NCAA title. Walsh finished just behind Canny at 1:43.24, which leaves her fourth nationally, while Reilly Tiltmann (1:44.42) and Claie Tuggle (1:44.95) also swam solid times.

Meanwhile, in a 200 IM time trial, Virginia’s Ella Nelson posted a mark of 1:53.69, moving her to fourth in the country behind fellow Cavaliers Alex Walsh, Douglass and Stanford’s Torri Huske. The senior, who placed eighth in the event at last season’s NCAA Championships,. beat her previous lifetime best of 1:54.48 by eight tenths.