U.S. Nationals: Kate Douglass Sprints Past Abbey Weitzeil in Women’s 100 Free

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Kate Douglass said she was surprised by her performance in the 100 freestyle, winning the title at the U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis.

It is a mindset that is working for her – and keeps surprising her.

After many historical performances at the past two NCAA Championships, her long-course racing almost gets overlooked – almost.

Douglass made the Olympic team in the 200 IM in Tokyo, and now that she is a professional, has her eye on more long-course success, starting off her U.S. Nationals with a 52.27 in the 100 freestyle to hold off Abbey Weitzeil.

“I never really thought I was going to go under 53, so I was really surprised by that,” Douglass said. “I knew tonight was going to be all about racing with fast people next to me, so that is what I tried to do. Coming into this meet, I was just hoping for a relay spot, so this is definitely a boost for my confidence for the rest of the meet. I think it is pretty cool to come in as an underdog at this race. I don’t think many people were thinking I was going to get an individual spot, and I wasn’t even thinking that, so it is definitely cool.”

Douglass has plenty of other swims to go this week in Indianapolis and could be poised for another NCAA-style multi-stroke dominating performance after a swim like this.

“I feel like my lineup works perfectly with one event a day to focus on. I am pretty grateful to have the ability to swim all of these events. I realize I have the potential,” Douglass said. “It has definitely been an adjustment as a pro swimmer, but I am sticking with the same training plan. It has been nice to keep that the same. We prioritize taking a little break. We all took a week off, then switched mentally over to long-course training to get ready to come to this meet and dominate.”

After several big names missed the final of the women’s 100 freestyle at the U.S. National Championships, the biggest names – including six Olympians in the final – took care of business, led by Douglass and Weitzeil.

Weitzeil got her hand on the wall second at 53.11, leading at the turn, but unable to keep up with Douglass’ late burst.

Gretchen Walsh was third in 53.14, followed by Olivia Smoliga (53.28) to fill out the possible relay spots in the event.

Torri Huske was fifth (53.41), followed by Maxine Parker (53.51), Bella Sims (53.73) and Catie DeLoof (53.75).

Weitzeil and Douglass were the only sub-53 swimmers in the prelims.

The B final featured Natalie Hinds, Beata Nelson, Katharine Berkoff, Gabi Albiero and upstarts Alex Shackell and Erin Gemmell. Claire Curzan and Erika Brown also missed the A final and scratched the B final.

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