Hometown: New York, New York
While her co-workers applaud her swimming interests, 24-year-old Kathryn Duncombe admits, “Most of them are perplexed by the fact I jump into the Hudson voluntarily.”
But Kate is no stranger to the open water. “I grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, so I was always swimming in the lake when I was young,” Kate says, adding that her high school team was often treated to training sessions in the lake instead of a pool.
While she had been on swim teams since the early age of six, Kate didn’t make a “serious commitment” to competitive swimming until her sophomore year of high school. That commitment continued through her college years at Michigan State University, where she swam all four years, and was named captain in 2003. She holds the Michigan State University school record for both the 100-yd backstroke and 200-yd backstroke, and a member on two of the School’s record-setting individual medley relay teams.
After graduation, Kate took a short hiatus from competition, but soon found that she missed the water. “I developed such a love for the sport and competition while at MSU that it was difficult to be a ‘normal’ person once I was done. And I still like the feeling I love after completing a great workout or grueling competition. Plus, I love to do stuff that is out of the ordinary.”
There’s certainly been nothing ordinary about her performances to date. Kate was the top female in her first two open water swims — the New York City Aquathlon: Stars & Stripes and the Around Governors Island Swim — and second in the Park-to-Park One-Miler. The Aquathlon win is even more extraordinary given that Kate rarely competes in running events, though her success has encouraged her to try more multisport races. But her favorite event of the season was the Governors Island swim. “It was so different from regular swimming competitions — jumping off the water taxi at the start, swimming with that current, and enjoying the great views of the New York harbor. I really enjoyed myself!”
A backstroke specialist in college, Kate incorporates some of the stroke into her open water swims. “It’s a nice break for the shoulders, but it would be difficult to do a whole event backstroke. I swim off course enough as it is!”
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Swim History (Non-NYCSWIM Events)
- No Swim History (Non-NYCSWIM Events) records to display.
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Articles and Press Releases
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