MISSOULA — Missoula native Katharine Berkoff continues to inch closer to her goals of qualifying for the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.
For the second straight year, Berkoff was named to the U.S. National Team roster, which was announced by USA Swimming last Wednesday.
Due to cancellations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, USA Swimming opted to return every athlete that was on the 2019-20 roster to the 2020-21 squad, while adding two more qualifying athletes.
The USA Swimming National Team includes 115 people -- 59 men and 56 women. Berkoff is one of six qualifiers in the women's 100-meter backstroke, of which she ranks fifth out of the group with a time of 59.29 seconds. Berkoff achieved that mark at the 2019 World University Games. The fastest time belongs to Regan Smith at 58.18.
The former Missoula Hellgate High standout who swam with the Missoula Aquatic Club is heading into her sophomore year at North Carolina State. In her freshman year she was a five-time All-American and won two ACC championships, winning the 100-meter backstroke and contributing to the 400 medley relay. She also achieved All-American status in the 200-meter backstroke, the 200 medley relay and the 800 freestyle relay.
Berkoff was qualified for the 2020 NCAA championships but did not get a chance to compete after the meets were shut down due to the pandemic.
Berkoff has already qualified for the 2021 Olympic Trials in the 100- and 200-meter backstrokes, marks she achieved back in 2018.