Katie McLaughlin is an American butterfly specialist that hails from southern California. McLaughlin was born July 9, 1997 in Dana Point, and grew up swimming for the Mission Viejo Nadadores.
McLaughlin was blessed with athletic genes — her mother was a sprint freestyle and flyer at USC, and her father played tight end at Indiana State. Even though her parents were spectacular athletes, McLaughlin has said that they never pushed her into doing anything she didn’t love. She began swimming competitively by age 9, but she explored numerous other sports including basketball, soccer, volleyball, and track. Ultimately, she fell in love with swimming.
Early career and high school swimming
Although McLaughlin began swimming competitively at age 9, she had made her first Olympic Trials just five years later. As McLaughlin grew up in the sport, she progressed at a fast rate through her hard work. By the time she was in high school at JSerra Catholic, McLaughlin was the seventh-ranked recruit in the class of 2015 according to collegeswimming.com.
As the third-ranked recruit in the state of California, McLaughlin had set the national high school record in the 100-yard fly with a time that easily vies for a spot in the NCAA Championship final. She also posted extremely competitive times in the 200-yard fly and the 200-yard free.
In fall 2014 McLaughlin committed to Teri McKeaver’s UC Berkeley and the Golden Bears.
University of California
After her first semester in Berkley, McLaughlin suffered a neck injury while the Bears where on a training trip in Hawaii. The highly-touted freshman made it back in time for the Pac-12 Championships but was unable to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
McLaughlin returned home to Southern California to continue rehab partway through her second semester. She hopes her support system at home will help her to make a full recovery in time for the 2016 Olympic Trials.
McLaughlin returned to competition just before the 2016 Pac-12 Championships, McLaughlin finished 14th in the 200 free at the conference meet.
McLaughlin was the runnerup at the NCAA Championships in the 200 fly (1:52.37). The team captain won the B final of the 200 freestyle (1:43.17) and also finished 22nd in the 500 freestyle (4:41.16). McLaughlin was the bronze medalist at the Pac-12 Championships in the 500 free (4:36.04) and 200 fly (1:53:29) and finished fourth in the 200 free (1:43.75). She was selected as a honorable mention Pac-12 All-Academic honoree.
McLaughlin reached the finals in three individual events at the NCAA Championships: 200 fly (4th, 1:52.64), 100 fly (6th, 51.20), 200 free (8th, 1:44.32). She also anchored Cal’s 400 free relay to a runner-up finish with a school record time of 3:08.05, and was part of the third place 800 free relay and runnerup 200 free relay, which set a school record (1:25.50). McLaughlin registered three Top 10 finishes at the Pac-12 meet, finishing fourth in the 100 fly (51.17), eighth in the 200 fly (1:55.07) and 10th in the 500 free (4:41.19). She also was a member of Cal’s Pac-12 champion 200, 400 and 800 freestyle relay teams.
2013 World Junior Championships
After making it on the U.S. Junior National Team in 2013, McLaughlin won four medals at the FINA World Junior Championships — gold in the 800 free relay and the 200 fly, as well as a bronze in the 400 free relay and the 400 mixed medley relay.
2014 Pan Pacific Championships
At the 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals, McLaughlin made a huge step in her career, and finished second to Camille Adams in the 200 fly. Her finish placed her on the U.S. National Team, and a trip to the Pan Pacs and the 2015 World Championships in Kazan.
At Pan Pacs, McLaughlin wasn’t intimidated at all and refused to put pressure on herself, something they she has learned from her parents. She had fun at Pan Pacs in Australia, and she came home with a bronze medal in the event.
2015 World Championships
In Kazan, Katie swam the 200 fly individually and was a part of the women’s 4×200 free relay. In the 200 fly, Katie went out hard and put herself into medal contention through the 150, but faded down the stretch and ultimately wound up finishing 6th (2:06.95). In the relay, she went third and split 1:56.92, aiding USA to win the event by over 3 seconds.
2016 Olympic Trials
McLaughlin reached the final of the 200 free (8th, 1:58.60) and 200 fly (2:01.87) and finished ninth in the 100 fly (58.86) at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
2017 U.S. National Championships
McLaughlin competed in four events at the 2017 Phillips 66 National Championships: 100 fly (6th, 58.49), 200 fly (7th, 2:10.21), 400 free (10th, 4:11.62) and 50 free (30th, 25.95).
2017 World University Games
McLaughlin earned three medals as part of relay teams in Taipei, taking silver with the 400 medley and 800 free teams and earning bronze with the 400 relay squad. She swam in just the prelims of the 400 free and 400 medley relays. McLaughlin also swam in three individual events: 100 fly (5h, 59.33), 50 fly (8th, 26.91) and 200 fly (14th, 2:13.85).
2018 U.S. National Championships
McLaughlin was the runnerup in the 100 butterfly (57.51) at the Phillips 66 National Championships. She also finished ninth in the 100 freestyle (54.24) and 200 freestyle (1:58.20) and 11th in the 50 freestyle (25.28).
2018 Pan Pacific Championships
On day 1, McLaughlin went a best time in the 200 free prelims (1:56.88), making the B-final and subsequently winning it. On day 2, she went another best time in the 100 free (54.14), and was called upon for the 4×200 free relay, where she had the 2nd fastest split (1:55.47) behind Katie Ledecky to help USA earn a silver.