Katie McLaughlin plans to attend the first day of school at JSerra High later this month. But after that, she’ll be on a well-earned absence.
The rising Mission Viejo Nadadores swimmer sealed her spot on the U.S. team for the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with a stellar performance on the opening night of the Speedo Junior Championships on Monday.
The 16-year-old captured the 200-meter butterfly in a lifetime-best 2 minutes, 9.68 seconds at William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center. SOCAL’s Ella Eastin touched fifth at 2:11.30.
McLaughlin’s time ranks third among U.S. women this year and places her on the U.S. team for junior worlds, which begin Aug. 26.
JSerra starts school Aug. 20.
“I’m so excited,” McLaughlin said. “I’ll be there first day (of school) and then I miss like 10 days. … I’m getting my classes early and I’ve already started to email my teachers just in case.”
McLaughlin finished third behind Cammile Adams, 21, and Maya DiRado, 20, in June at the World Championships trials and said juniors was her main target.
“I’m putting more on myself that I want do better at this meet,” she said. “I’ve been to a couple juniors now, so I know what I should be doing and what I can do.”
The Nadadores’ Nick Norman, 16, also showed what he can do. In the 1,500 freestyle, the Capistrano Valley junior-to-be charged from eighth place at the 200 mark to finish second to Jonathan Roberts of the North Texas Nadadores (15:24.82) in a lifetime-best 15:31.41. Norman sliced just more than 10 seconds off his best.
“That’s what keeps you coaching,” Nadadores coach Bill Rose said of Norman. “All heart.”
Norman appears just outside the top-two ranking needed to qualify for Dubai in the 1,500. David Heron of the Nadadores is ranked first with a 15:24.54 from last week’s U.S. Open, followed by Roberts. In the men’s 200 butterfly, Corey Okubo of Aquazot and University High finished fourth in a lifetime-best 1:58.28.