Cal Swim: Katie McLaughlin Becomes Third Golden Bear to Gain a Tokyo Olympics Bid

She places fourth in the 200 free and will swim on the 800 free relay team.
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Katie McLaughlin became the first Cal women’s swimmer to earn a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics, finishing fourth in the 200-meter freestyle final at the Olympic Trials to land a spot on the 800 free relay.

McLaughlin, 23, joins backstroke star Ryan Murphy and freestyle Andrew Seliskar, bumping the Bears’ total to three swimmers headed to the Games next month.

Ex-Cal star Nathan Adrian, 32 and two years removed from a battle with testicular cancer, came up short in his first bid for a spot on his fourth Olympic team, finishing 13th in the 100 free semifinals, an event he won at the 2012 London Games.

McLaughlin hoped to swim at the 2016 Rio Olympics but did not make the team while recovering from a neck injury. She was just fifth in the 100 butterfly on Monday night, but her fourth-place finish in the 200 free provides her an opportunity to swim in Tokyo as part of the long relay.

She swam 1:57.16 while Katie Ledecky won in 1:55.11, beating American record-holder and reigning Olympic gold medalist Allison Schmitt (1:56.79).

Former Cal star Nathan Adrian

Nathan Adrian

The day did not go as well for Adrian, who has accumulated eight Olympic medals at three Games dating back to 2008, following his sophomore year at Cal. His battle with cancer in 2019 required two surgeries and preceded a 2020 season that was mostly erased for everyone by the COVID-19 pandemic.

His time of 48.92 in the 100 free semis left him five spots away from a lane in the Thursday final and was more than a second slower than American record-holder and top qualifier Caeleb Dressel.

Adrian gets another shot at an Olympic roster spot when he swims the 50 freestyle, beginning with heats on Saturday morning.

Adrian, in his first swim of the trials, advanced out of the morning heats in the 100 free, qualifying sixth in 48.37.

Jack Alexy, who will enroll at Cal as a freshman in the fall, qualified ninth in 48.69 in the morning prelims then was sidelined after finishing 10th in the semifinals with a time of 48.82.

Ryan Hoffer, a senior at Cal this past year, was was 26th in the prelims at 49.77.

Trenton Julian led from the blocks through 150 meters of the men’s 200 butterfly final but couldn’t hold on to earn an Olympic team bid. He wound up fifth at 1:56.36, well back of winner Zach Harting (1:55.06).

Rachel Klinker, who just completed her sophomore season at Cal, was seventh in the women’s 200 butterfly semifinals, advancing to Thursday’s final. She clocked 2:09.18 after advancing through the morning heats in a time of 2:11.11.

Reece Whitley, who is coming off his junior season at Cal, qualified 10th out of the first-round heats in the 200 breaststroke, clocking 2:11.79 but was eliminated in the evening semifinals after finishing 10th in 2:11.12.

In the same evening in the morning, rising junior Jason Louser failed to advance (26th in 2:14.90).

Incoming Cal freshman Gabriel Jett, entered in five events at the trials, did not advance out of the 800 free heats (39th in 8:13.95).

Cover photo of Katie McLaughlin by Justin Casterline, KLC fotos

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo