Katie McLaughlin

View Current photo via Courtesy of Jack Spitser

Katie McLaughlin is a 2021 Olympian for the USA. She is a world champion and Pan Pacific champion in the 4×200 free relay.

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.

Personal info

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 vied for a spot in the NCAA Championship final. She also posted extremely competitive times in the 200-yard fly and the 200-yard free.

College (University of California)

In fall 2014 McLaughlin committed to Teri McKeaver’s UC Berkeley and the Golden Bears.


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.


McLaughlin won gold with the 200 freestyle relay (American & US Open record), 400 freestyle relay (American & US Open record), and 400 medley relay teams, and silver with the 800 freestyle relay at the NCAA Championships. She also placed 3rd in the 100 fly (49.97), 7th in the 200 free (1:43.53), and 4th in the 200 fly (1:51.09).

At the Pac-12 Championships, she was part of the title-winning 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay, 800 freestyle relay, and 400 medley relay.

National/International Competition

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.

ISL – LA Current

On June 18, 2019, Katie McLaughlin was announced as a member of the LA Current ISL team, headed by GM Lenny Krayzelburg.

2019 World Championships

McLaughlin started her meet in the 100 fly, where she placed 9th overall in a personal best time of 57.23. On Day 5, McLaughlin raced in the 4×200 free relay, where she anchored in 1:55.36 to help USA to a new American record and silver medal behind Australia.

McLaughlin finished her meet by swimming the fly leg in prelims of the 400 medley relay, which went on to win gold in finals.

2021 Olympic Trials

On night 4, Katie McLaughlin made her first Olympic team, finishing 4th in the 200 free to qualify for the 4×200 free relay.

2020 Olympic Games

In Tokyo, Mclaughlin swam in the prelims of the 800 free relay, splitting 1:56.02 to earn her spot in the final. In the final, she swam 3rd for USA and split 1:55.38, helping the Americans earn silver and break an American record, dipping under the old world record set by Australia in the process.

International Medals

Place Event Year Meet
Silver 800 Freestyle Relay 2020 Olympic Games
Gold 800 Freestyle Relay 2015 World Championships
Silver 400 Mixed Medley Relay 2015 World Championships
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2019 World Championships
Gold 400 Mixed Free Relay 2019 World Championships
Silver 800 Freestyle Relay 2019 World Championships
Bronze 200 Fly 2014 Pan Pacific Championships
Silver 800 Freestyle Relay 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
Gold 800 Freestyle Relay 2013 World Junior Championships
Gold 200 Fly 2013 World Junior Championships
Bronze 400 Freestyle Relay 2013 World Junior Championships
Bronze 400 Mixed Medley Relay 2013 World Junior Championships

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
lcm 100 Free 54.14 08/10/18 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
Tokyo, Japan
lcm 200 Free 1:56.48 06/09/19 2019 PC SCSC International
Santa Clara, California
lcm 100 Fly 57.23 07/21/19 2019 World Championships
Gwangju, South Korea
lcm 200 Fly 2:06.95 08/06/15 2015 FINA World Championships
Kazan, Russia
scy 200 Free 1:42.85 03/22/19 2019 Women's NCAA Championships
Austin, Texas
scy 100 Fly 49.97 03/22/19 2019 Women's NCAA Championships
Austin, Texas
scy 200 Fly 1:51.09 03/23/19 2019 Women's NCAA Championships
Austin, Texas
Amy Bilquist Abbey Weitzeil Katie McLaughlin Ema Rajic (photo: Jack Spitser) Katie McLaughlin (photo: Jack Spitser) Katie McLaughlin (photo: Jack Spitser) Katie Mclaughlin (photo: Jack Spitser) Katie McLaughlin (photo: Jack Spitser)