Blueseventy Swim of the Week: Katie McLaughlin Expanding Horizons


Disclaimer: BlueSeventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The BlueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

Katie McLaughlin is now about a full year out from a devastating neck injury that cost her not only her freshman year at Cal, but also cost her a possible Olympic berth in Rio. But McLaughlin is coming back stronger than ever… and with a few new tricks up her sleeve.

McLaughlin is mainly known as a butterflyer. Her lifetime-best of 2:06.95 in the long course 200 fly (set at Worlds in 2015) would have earned her an Olympic spot last summer, beating out second place by six tenths of a second and coming within a tenth of winning U.S. Olympic Trials. Instead, McLaughlin, still coming back from the neck injury and competing with a severely shortened seasonal training base, had to settle for 6th place.

And though she hasn’t yet topped that 200 fly time in her return to form, McLaughlin proved at last weekend’s Grand Challenge meet in California that she’s adding some new weapons to her arsenal as she returns to form: namely, a fast-rising 400 freestyle.

McLaughlin went a lifetime-best 4:13.53 to win that event by a second and a half in Irvine. That’s a drop of almost 5 seconds from her previous lifetime-best, set a month ago, and almost 6 seconds from her best time prior to April of this year.

She’s shown the same improvements in short course yards, going from 4:51.3 in the 500 yard free to 4:36.04 over the course of her sophomore season at Cal. At the same time, she improved her short course 200 fly from 1:54.1 to 1:52.3.

McLaughlin hasn’t yet really gone after a rested long course 200 fly this season. But if her improvements in endurance are any indicator, we might see a version of McLaughlin next month that isn’t just back from injury, but even better than she was before it.


There isn’t a second that goes by when the team at blueseventy aren’t thinking about you. How you eat, breathe, train, play, win, lose, suffer and celebrate. How swimming is every part of what makes you tick. Aptly named because 70% of the earth is covered in water, blueseventy is a world leader in the pool and open water. Since 1993, we design, test, refine and craft products using superior materials and revolutionary details that equate to comfort, freedom from restriction and ultimately a competitive advantage in the water. This is where we thrive. There is no substitute and no way around it. We’re all for the swim.

2016 blueseventy banner for Swim of the Week b70_300x300-aftsVisit to learn more.

Instagram: @blueseventy

Twitter: @blueseventy


blueseventy is a SwimSwam partner.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
samuel huntington
3 years ago

odds Katie swims the 400 at a major meet? zero

samuel huntington
Reply to  samuel huntington
3 years ago

well maybe it’s possible but with Ledecky and Smith, no chance she would qualify

3 years ago

I really hope she can make that world team this summer in the 2 fly and 2 free.

Reply to  Swimmmy15
3 years ago

Agreed. Those 2 events are her best shots. I hope she can crank out a good 200free. The US is going to need her on the 4X200 with Schmitt, Dirado and Franklin out, and the Chinese looking really good right now, I think they have 4 1:56s

Reply to  Ervin
3 years ago

She will be very needed on that 800 free relay and she is amazing on fly .

Reply to  Ervin
3 years ago

That relay still has Ledecky and Smith — add on Comerford and . . . McLaughlin or Simone or others — still a great relay

Reply to  SwimGeek
3 years ago

i put my money on Simone and Katie Mc Laughlin to join K.L and Leah Smith …

Hint of Lime
3 years ago

Glad that she’s recovering so well after such a setback. Kudos to her and wish her the best in all there is to come!

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

Read More »