Kate Douglass leaving lasting legacy at UVA
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Kate Douglass is one of the most decorated student-athletes in UVA sports history.
This past weekend, the senior swimmer set an American record in the 200-yard breast stroke, adding to her almost dozen UVA and American School records. And she’s not done yet.
Now it’s Senior Day, a time for Douglass to celebrate with family and friends. It’s also a sign that her remarkable swim career at UVA is winding down.
“I guess, I never thought I would set American individual records, so being able to do that here has been really exciting. Being a part of those relays has been really fun,” Douglass said.
Douglass will leave UVA as one the all-time greats. An 8-time NCAA and an Olympic medalist. She holds three UVA records and three American records in individual events. She’s also been a part of four relay American records.
“When I got here, I never thought any of that was possible. I’ve always had [Coach] Todd telling me I could do some great things. Go to the Olympics, break American records. Over time I started to believe that,” Douglass said.
What makes Kate a special swimmer is her versality. Last year, in setting her three American records, she did so in three different strokes: the 50-yard freestyle, 100 butterfly, and 200 breast stroke.
“She’s just freakishly talented. She’s one of the most versatile NCAA swimmers of all-time. For her to do what she did last year, winning NCAA titles in three different strokes, three different distances. It’s unheard of,” Coach Todd DeSorbo said.
“I get a little stressed out about my own goals and what happens if I don’t get them. When there’s a team involved you swim for each other and that takes the pressure off,” Douglass said.
Part of Douglass’ legacy will be leading the UVA women’s swim team to back-to-back national championships.
“She’s been a program changer. We wouldn’t be where we are without her as a team,” Coach DeSorbo said.
“I think that just overall, people will remember that me and my class took that first step towards getting a national championship for the team and I was a big part of that, and that’s definitely important to me,” Douglass said.
Douglass says she’s now focused on helping the team win another ACC and NCAA tournament championship.
Next year, she’ll get her masters in statistics at UVA while also training with the Virginia Swim Team in hopes of making it to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Do you have a story idea? Send us your news tip here.
Copyright 2023 WVIR. All rights reserved.