Katharine Berkoff Swims Lifetime Best in 200 Back at Washington Open

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 10

January 19th, 2019 Club, News

2019 Washington Open

Katharine Berkoff stole the show on night 2 of the 2019 Washington Open. Berkoff, a Montana resident who trains at the Missoula Aquatic Club, is committed to NC State as the #3 recruit in the high school class of 2019, and she backed that up with her first race of 2019 on Friday, swimming a 1:50.13 in the 200 yard backstroke.

That’s a new lifetime best and .03 seconds faster than she swam at Winter Juniors in December. She remains the 5th-fastest American in 17-18 age group history in the event, as well as the 21st-best performer in history (of any age).

She added a 2nd win on the night with a 4:44.12 in the 500 free, which was another lifetime best. This time, the margin was significantly bigger – her previous fastest swim was a 4:52.38 that she did at altitude in November.

Berkoff would also split a 22.07 as part of Missoula’s 4th-place 200 free relay (no reaction times available). Her flat-start best is 22.82. SWAT won that race in 1:36.83.

The swim came shortly after Berkoff and her Missoula Aquatic Club teammates returned from a training camp in Arizona at Rio Salado.

Other Highlights:

  • Francesca Criscione of the Corvallis Aquatic Team in Oregon won the girls’s 1000 free in 10:12.37. That cuts (exactly) 9 seconds off her previous lifetime best, which was done in 2017. In 2018, her  best time in the event was just 10:34 – 22 seconds slower than she swam on Thursday.
  • Another Oregonian, Luke Thornbrue of the Hillsboro Heat, won the boys’ 1000 free in 9:09.42. He was followed by teammate Ethan Heasley, who took 2nd in 9:12.96. Thornbrue, a senior, is headed to Notre Dame in the fall.
  • Heasley would later win the 200 IM in 1:49.09. That’s about a second short of a best time for the uncommitted junior. He finished a three-individual-event session (plus a 200 free relay swim in prelims) with a win in the 500 free, touching in 4:25.60
  • Charity Pittard won the girls’ 200 IM in 2:00.04, which matches her lifetime best to the hundredth.
  • Continuing a big day for the Boise YMCA, Nathan Quarterman won the boys’ 200 backstroke in 1:48.31, just holding off his 15-year old teammate Gabe Machado, who took 2nd in 1:48.38. Those were best times for both swimmers. The fastest time of the day went to Christopher Staka, a 20-year old who formerly swam at Alabama but is now seeking a new program, swam a 1:47 in prelims before scratching finals. Staka later won the 50 free in 19.79.
  • Kaitlyn Dobler of The Dolphins Swim Team in Oregon was the only female to flat-start better than 23 seconds as she won the 50 free in 22.83.


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bobo gigi
4 years ago

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Caeleb Dressel’s Bandana
4 years ago

I hope she kicks out to 15m

Reply to  Caeleb Dressel’s Bandana
4 years ago

Her underwater are good but nothing like her dads! At least, not yet!

Reply to  Caeleb Dressel’s Bandana
4 years ago

I saw the race. She was close to 15m on the start and was close to half way down the pool before she surfaced after each turn. Amazing race to watch.

4 years ago

Heasley is committed to Texas according to his Instagram bio

Reply to  Swimmer
4 years ago

You may be thinking of Ethan Harder who is committed to Texas.

(G)olden Bear
Reply to  FormerLonghorn
4 years ago

Negative. Heasley also now committed.

4 years ago

Is she related to Berkoff?

ACC fan
4 years ago

Congratulations Katharine!! As a Wolfpack Woman next year you will go even faster under the legendary backstroke coaching of Braden Holloway! It’s going to be exciting!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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