Birthday: June 24, 1994
Hometown: Holland, MI
Resides in: Boston, MA
College: University of Virginia
Coach: Augie Busch
Courtney Bartholomew was a key player in the up-and-coming women’s swimming program at the University of Virginia.
In her final season alone, the Michigan-bred backstroker helped propel her team to the Atlantic Coast Conference team title, where she won at both the 100 and 200, and a seventh-place finish at the NCAA championship, where she finished second in both events.
She was also a member of USA Swimming’s National Team and represented the United States at the 2015 Duel in the Pool, where she clocked a 55.92 to set an American record in the 100 short-course-meters back. She also led off Team USA’s world-record effort in the 4x100 medley relay.
But in an unusual move, she decided to call it a career after the NCAA championships in March, three months short of the Olympic Trials. She says she made the decision on the podium weeks earlier at the ACC conference meet.
“I realized as I stood there that I had accomplished almost every goal I had set for swimming and I was happy with how my career had gone,” Bartholomew explained in a Swimming World essay. “I realized I would only be swimming to make others happy, not myself.”
And while she may have signed her retirement papers, it doesn’t mean she’s done with the sport.
“I just want to give back to the swimming community. I love teaching people about the sport because it can contribute to so many areas of life. Swimming can lead to a fantastic education, fantastic values and good relationships.”
To that end, Bartholomew has taught lessons to kids and ran UVA’s Cavalier Swim Camp. And now she’s part of the Fitter and Faster Swim Tour Presented by SwimOutlet.com and in a position to bring her expertise to young swimmers all over the country.
“I like being able to pick out little aspects of technique and help someone improve their stroke,” she says. “To me, there’s nothing more exciting than watching kids get best times.”