Missoula's Katharine Berkoff sets another American swimming record

Katharine Berkoff.jpeg
Posted at 11:33 AM, Apr 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-29 13:33:35-04

MISSOULA — The year 2022 isn't even halfway over, and it's already one Katharine Berkoff will never forget.

The Missoula native and Hellgate High graduate broke the American and U.S Open record in the 50-meter backstroke on Thursday at the 2022 U.S. World Championship Trials in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Berkoff, 21, finished the race in 27.12 seconds. It's the fifth fastest time in the event's history, with China's Liu Xiang holding the fastest time of 26.98 back in 2018, according to Swim Swam.

The mark qualifies Berkoff for the 2022 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary which runs from June 17 to July 3.

This latest accomplishment comes just over a month after Berkoff, a junior at North Carolina State, set the American record in the 100 backstroke at the NCAA Championships in Atlanta. Berkoff completed the 100 in 48.74 seconds, and became the first woman to break the 49-second barrier in the event. It was a decorated NCAA Championships for Berkoff who won the 100 backstroke national title and was a seven-time All-American.

In her three years with the Wolfpack, Berkoff has won four NCAA national championships, four ACC titles and is a 19-time All-American. Berkoff also won a gold medal at the 2021 FINA World Championships when her and her teammates won the 4x100 freestyle relay.