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.
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.
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.
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.