Freshman Katie McLaughlin (Santa Margarita) has left Cal's women's swim team and will return Thursday to the Mission Viejo Nadadores club to continue to rehabilitate a neck injury and train for the this summer's U.S. Olympic Trials.
McLaughlin suffered a neck injury during a training trip with Cal to Hawaii in January. She returned to competition at the recent Pac-12 championships but didn't race a complete schedule. She didn't qualify for this week's NCAA finals at Georgia Tech.
McLaughlin will reunite with Nadadores coach Bill Rose and depart Saturday with a group of Nadadores for about a three-week training camp at the Olympic Training Center at Colorado Springs.
Rose said McLaughlin will train with the Nadadores through the Olympic Trials and return to Cal in the fall.
"Throughout the course of the past couple of months, I have been working hard to recover fully from the injury I sustained," McLaughlin said in a statement released by Cal. "Although I was able to return to competition recently, I believe it is most important for me to get back to 100 percent as soon as possible. I want to be at my best for my team and coaches and excel at everything I do athletically and academically.
"So, after talking with my family, my (Cal) coach Teri McKeever and my doctors, the decision was made that returning home to Southern California for the remainder of the semester will allow me to focus on making a full recovery and returning to Cal as quickly as possible."
McLaughlin is an Olympic hopeful is the 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly and the 200-meter freestyle. She finished 2015 as the No. 2-ranked American in the 100 fly (57.87 at the Swim Meet of Champions in July) and 200 fly (2:06.95 at World Champs) and the No. 5 American woman in the 200 free (1:57.55 at the Swim Meet of Champions).
Her top times from 2015 remain competitive with the fastest Americans so far in 2016 but the U.S. Olympic Trials start June 26 in Omaha, Neb.
"Katie’s health is of paramount concern to us and we will continue to support her throughout this process," McKeever said in a statement. "She is a true Golden Bear. We look forward to Katie’s return and will support her every step of the way."