Olympics coverage is heating up in Western Montana. Despite Paris, France and Missoula, Montana being separated by 4,800 miles via the way of the crow Missoulians will be tuned in to this summer's Olympics.

Congratulations, Katharine Berkoff

Missoula's own Katharine Berkoff qualified for the Summer Olympics after placing second in the 100m backstroke trials last night in Indianapolis. Berkoff is a Hellgate High product before becoming an accomplished NCAA champion at NC State University.

After finishing second in the semifinals on Monday, Berkoff came back with a second consecutive runner-up spot with a time of 57.91. A lot of the time that would be sufficient enough for a first-place finish, but last night Regan Smith decided to break a world record with a time of 57.13. Less than a second separated Berkoff and the world record holder. That's a heck of an accomplishment.

READ MORE: Kalispell Native, Former Griz Attempts To Qualify For The Olympics

At her press conference last night, Smith said "Seeing Katharine break 58, that is so freaking hard to do, and yeah, she's one of five women to ever do it; and that was awesome, getting to race next to her and the two of us going two of the fastest times ever in that event," Smith told Swimming World Magazine.

It's in the family

This shouldn't come as a surprise to any followers of Berkoff and her family. Katharine's father David was a four-time Olympic medalist, per Swimming World Magazine. David notched two golds, a silver and bronze medal during his Olympic competitions. He even got a move named after him: The Berkoff Blastoff.

NCAA accomplishments

Katharine has been winning in the backstroke for years now. At NC State, Berkoff became a 5x NCAA Champion, including a 3x champion in the 100m backstroke in 2021, 2022 and 2024. Berkoff became a staggering 30x All-American and a 6x ACC champion in the backstroke as well.

Now she will add Olympic competitor to the list of accolades.

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To watch last night's qualifier, click the video below.

Berkoff's week isn't complete yet. This Saturday she will try her hand at the freestyle. The prelims begin at 11 am.

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Read on to see the complete list of 20 fun facts below.

Gallery Credit: Kadie Daye, Getty Images

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