Dolfin Swim of the Week: Berkoff Moves to #5 All-Time In 17-18 200 BK

Disclaimer: Dolfin 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  Dolfin 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.

It was a banner weekend for high school senior Katharine Berkoffwho moved to #5 all-time among USA Swimming’s 17-18 historical ranks in the 200 yard backstroke.

The 17-year-old Berkoff is one of the top high school prospects in the nation, and part of arguably the best youth backstroke crowd in USA Swimming history. She’s verbally committed to swim for NC State next season, and continues to cut time in her best events. Over the weekend, Berkoff went 1:50.13 in the 200 yard backstroke.

The swim came on Friday at the Washington Open in Federal Way. Berkoff blew out an age group field, winning by more than nine seconds. Her opening 100 (54.28) would have won the individual 100 back by more than a second. Her splitting down the line was outstanding and consistent: her final three 50s were 28.18, 27.89 and 27.96.

Berkoff’s time moves her to #5 in 17-18 age group history, behind a host of huge names:

Top 17-18 200y backstrokes – USA Swimming history

  1. Missy Franklin – 1:48.42 (2013)
  2. Elizabeth Pelton – 1:49.16 (2011)
  3. Kylie Stewart – 1:49.85 (2014)
  4. Amy Bilquist – 1:49.90 (2016)
  5. Katharine Berkoff – 1:50.13 (2019)

Berkoff still has a full year in the age group to attempt to become just the fifth 17-18 to break 1:50 in the event. Only 14 American women of any age have broken 1:50 in the event. Berkoff’s time would have been 4th at NCAAs last year.


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Franklin – 1:48.42 – 2:04.06
Pelton – 1:49.16 – 2:06.29
Stewart – 1:49.85 – 2:09.04
Bilquist – 1:49.90 – 2:08.30
Katharine Berkoff – 1:50.13 – ???
There is some kind of pattern. Will Katharine break it?


She was 2:09.84 this past summer. With another year.

bobo gigi

Kathleen Baker vs Regan Smith vs Isabelle Stadden vs Lisa Bratton vs Katharine Berkoff for 2 olympic spots next year in the 200 back.


Also forgetting Smoliga who has only been dabbling in the 200 but still went 2:08. It’s possible she doesn’t swim it though because I believe it conflicts with the 100 free at Trials

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 …

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