The pre-selection entry lists for the 2022 Women’s NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships have been published. The meet will run from March 16-20 in Atlanta at the Georgia Tech McAuley Aquatic Center.
One of the more interesting event lineups at this year’s NCAA Championships belongs to NC State junior Katharine Berkoff, who will tackle the 50 free, 100 back and 100 free. The big change comes in her final day event, as Berkoff is opting to drop the 200 back in favor of the 100 free.
This is now the third year in a row that Berkoff will have a different event list of for NCAAs. Notably, her event lineup has been skewing shorter as her career at NC State has progressed, with her entering the 500 free her freshman year and now having no event longer than 100 yards in 2022. NC State employed a similar strategy throughout the years with former men’s swimmer Justin Ress, who started his Wolfpack career as a 400 IMer and finished as one of the top sprinters in the country.
Last season, Berkoff was the NCAA champion in the 100 back and also finished 8th in the 50 free and 6th in the 200 back.
Berkoff events by season:
|Junior||50 free, 100 back, 100 free|
|Sophomore||50 free, 100 back, 200 back|
|Freshman (Cancelled due to COVID-19)||500 free, 100 back, 200 back|
This season, Berkoff is seeded 7th in the 50 free, 2nd in the 100 back and 2nd in the 100 free.
While her seeds more than justify the switch from the 200 back to the 100 free, the calculus could also include the relative strength of the 200 back field. Led by the fastest 200 backstroker of all time, Stanford’s Regan Smith, the 200 back is one of the fastest events in women’s collegiate swimming at the moment. Between Smith, Isabelle Stadden, Taylor Ruck, Rhyan White and Phoebe Bacon, among others, there’s a very realistic scenario that Berkoff could swim a lifetime best in the 200 back, which she hasn’t done since high school, and still finish towards the bottom of the A final.
Berkoff has also shown great progress in her 100 free this season. At last year’s NCAA’s, Berkoff led off NC State’s 400 free relay in 47.94, a then-lifetime best. She has now dropped over a second in the last 12 months after posting a 46.89 at last month’s ACC Championships.