Kate Douglass Rips American Record 48.46 – ‘I Was Pretty Shocked’ to Hold off Mac Neil, Huske in Epic Final

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The 2023 NCAA Division I Women’s Championships continued with an elite race in the 100 butterfly.

The race features, the defending champion, the NCAA record holder, the meet record holder, the world champion, the Olympic gold medalist, four Olympians and five national team members.

It ended in an NCAA and American record.

Kate Douglass continues her all-out assault on the record books.

Last year, she became the first swimmer in NCAA history to win national championships in three different strokes that were also three different distances.

It is difficult to build a legacy more impactful, but this season, Douglass has done it, obliterating records and leading Virginia toward a three-peat.

With all eyes on a stacked field and no margin for error, Douglass was at her best, soaring to the 100 butterfly title in 48.46, the NCAA and American record by four tenths. She held it at 48.84, set at ACCs.

This time, she had to beat the Olympic champion, the U.S. Olympic silver medalist and more head-to-head.

“I think I knew going into the race that I was going to have a good race, and the time was going to be good, honestly I just had no idea who was going to touch first. Anyone in that heat could have touched first,” Douglass said. “I was pretty shocked when I looked at the board. I knew Maggie (Mac Neil) and Torri (Huske) were close to me, and I had a bad finish, so I was definitely shocked to see that I touched first. I was excited to get the points for my team. It was a great race.

“I wanted to just go for it, send it the first 50 and try to hold on. In training the last three weeks, I built up the confidence that I could finish the 100 fly no matter how bad it hurt, so I wanted to go as fast as I could in the first 50.”

She has put together pretty dominant turns, starting with her turn to close out the 200 medley relay on the opening night.

“I struggle with long glides into the wall, so I have a certain kick count and stroke count to stick to. I just hope that I hit the wall correctly,” Douglass said. “I don’t think it has sunk in (how fast we have been).”

But it has sunk in for those watching the progression the past two years.

Now, Douglass has the NCAA and American record in the 200 IM and the 100 butterfly and the 200 breast and had the 50 free records until about a month ago.

The Race Setup

It was one of the most anticipated race of the meet, and it did not disappoint. Maggie Mac Neil, the Olympic gold medalist in the 100-meter fly, entered the season as the NCAA-record holder at 48.89, but Virginia’s Kate Douglass, the American-record holder and NCAA champion in 2022, knocked off that mark at the ACC Championships last month. Douglass went 48.84 at ACCs, but only an hour later in real time, Mac Neil responded with a 48.99 at the SEC Championships.

Then there was Torri Huske, who dominated the 100-meter fly at the World Championships in 2022. She, too, would be a player, and the same could be said for her Stanford teammate Claire Curzan, a former American-record holder in yards and a World Championships finalist in the meters event last year. And the meet would in fact begin with five swimmers having broken 50 so far this season with Texas’ Emma Sticklen also joining the club.
And prior to the race, the three primary contenders all showed extremely strong form at NCAAs. Douglass won the 200 IM in 1:48.37, crushing the previous all-time best by 1.71 seconds, while Huske crushed her best time to finish second in 1:50.06, the second-fastest time ever. Mac Neil, meanwhile, won the 50 free in 20.79, the quickest time ever in that event.

That doesn’t even include title contenders  Claire Curzan and Gabi Albiero – the field was stacked.

The Race

Huske led at the first turn before Douglass and Mac Neil charged ahead at the halfway point.

Douglass led at the second and third turns and closed to win in 48.46. She was out in 22.48 and back in 25.98.

Mac Neil was just behind in 48.51, while Huske finished third in 48.96.

The first two spots broke the record with Huske just off of it, one of the most spectacular races top to bottom in NCAA history.

Mac Neil was out in 22.56 and back in 25.95. Huske was out in 22.75 and back in 26.21.

Curzan was fourth in 50.09, followed by Albiero and Sticklen who tied at 50.15 for fifth.

NC State’s Kylee Alons finished seventh in 50.44 and Ohio State’s Katherine Zenick was eighth in 51.11.

Event 9  Women 100 Yard Butterfly
         NCAA: N 48.84  2/16/2023 Kate Douglass, Virginia
         Meet: M 48.89  3/19/2021 Maggie MacNeil, Michigan
     American: A 48.84  2/16/2023 Kate Douglass, Virginia
      US Open: O 48.84  2/16/2023 Kate Douglass, Virginia
         Pool: P 49.73  11/20/2020Kate Douglass, Virginia
    Name                 Year School            Prelims     Finals Points 
                       === Championship Final ===                        
  1 Douglass, Kate         SR Virginia            50.11      48.46N  20  
    r:+0.59  22.48        48.46 (25.98)
  2 MacNeil, Maggie        5Y LSU                 50.51      48.51N  17  
    r:+0.65  22.56        48.51 (25.95)
  3 Huske, Torri           SO Stanford            49.77      48.96P  16  
    r:+0.62  22.75        48.96 (26.21)
  4 Curzan, Claire         FR Stanford            50.45      50.09   15  
    r:+0.61  23.45        50.09 (26.64)
  5 Sticklen, Emma         JR Texas               50.00      50.15   13.5
    r:+0.67  23.51        50.15 (26.64)
  5 Albiero, Gabi          JR Louisville          50.46      50.15   13.5
    r:+0.61  23.69        50.15 (26.46)
  7 Alons, Kylee           5Y NC State            50.85      50.44   12  
    r:+0.63  23.24        50.44 (27.20)
  8 Zenick, Katherine      JR Ohio St             50.84      51.11   11  
    r:+0.65  23.80        51.11 (27.31)
                        === Consolation Final ===                        
  9 Arens, Abby            JR NC State            50.86      50.60    9  
    r:+0.62  23.71        50.60 (26.89)
 10 Guevara, Miriam        5Y Northwestern        51.24      50.91    7  
    r:+0.50  23.52        50.91 (27.39)
 11 Ulett, Tristen         JR Louisville          51.50      51.18    6  
    r:+0.74  24.09        51.18 (27.09)
 12 Lee, Meghan            JR Auburn              51.20      51.20    5  
    r:+0.59  24.30        51.20 (26.90)
 13 Regenauer, Christiana  SR Louisville          51.35      51.26    4  
    r:+0.70  23.89        51.26 (27.37)
 14 Cuomo, Lexi            SR Virginia            51.18      51.28    3  
    r:+0.73  23.71        51.28 (27.57)
 15 Kragh, Mia             SO California          51.38      51.58    2  
    r:+0.69  23.90        51.58 (27.68)
 16 Peoples, Olivia        SO Florida             51.62      52.04    1  
    r:+0.63  24.32        52.04 (27.72)
                 Women - Team Rankings - Through Event 9                 
  1. Virginia                        268.5   2. Texas                           175.5
  3. Stanford                          154   4. Louisville                      147.5
  5. Florida                           114   6. Ohio St                           108
  7. NC State                          101   8. Indiana                            84
  9. Lsu                                79   9. California                         79
 11. UNC                                73  12. Georgia                          66.5
 13. Tennessee                          61  14. Alabama                            56
 15. Wisconsin                          49  16. Kentucky                           37
 16. Southern California                37  18. Minnesota                          24
 19. Virginia Tech                      18  20. Arizona                            17
 21. Miami (Fl)                         16  22. Duke                               13
 23. Arkansas                           12  24. Michigan                           10
 25. Miami (Ohio)                        9  25. South Carolina                      9
 25. Northwestern                        9  28. Auburn                              7
 28. Texas A&M                           7  28. Florida St                          7
 31. UCLA                                6  32. Arizona St                          4
 33. Utah                                2
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