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Athletes

Kathleen
Baker
United States of AmericaUnited States of America, USA
Swimming

Biography

Further Personal Information

Date of birth
28 February 1997
Height
173 cm
Residence
Winston-Salem, NC, USA
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English
Higher education
Health Studies - University of California, Berkeley: United States

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming competitively in 2005.
Why this sport?
"My mum wouldn't let me go off the diving board unless I swam, so if I could swim, then I could go off the diving board. I then started swimming over the summer because my sister did it."
Club / Team
Team Elite [USA] / California Aquatics [USA]:
Name of coach
David Marsh [Team Elite], USA; Teri McKeever [California Aquatics]

General Interest

Memorable sporting achievement
Breaking the 100m backstroke world record at 2018 National Championships in Irvine, CA, United States of America. (USA Swimming YouTube channel, 08 Apr 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"It's really important to trust the process. A lot of that has to do with believing in yourself and having fun." (swimmingworldmagazine.com, 07 Oct 2018)
Awards and honours
She was presented with the Female Race of the Year award at the 2018 Golden Goggles Awards, in recognition of her world record setting performance in the 100m backstroke at the 2018 US National Championships in Irvine, CA, United States of America. (pulseroll.com, 21 Nov 2018)

She was named the 2017 College Swimming Coaches Association of America [CSCAA] National Swimmer of the Year. (calbears.com, 30 Jul 2017)

She was presented with the key to the city in Winston-Salem, NC, United States of America, in recognition of her performance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (calbears.com, 30 Jul 2017)

In January 2016 she was named the Pac-12 Women's Swimmer of the Month in the United States of America. (swimswam.com, 04 Feb 2016)
Famous relatives
Her mother Kimberley and her older sister Rachel competed in swimming at university level in the United States of America. (usaswimming.org, 2014; swimmingworldmagazine.com, 07 Oct 2018)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and to win a gold medal in an individual event at the world championships. (Facebook page, 18 Jun 2019; USA Swimming YouTube channel, 08 Apr 2019)
Other information
TOKYO PREPARATIONS
She claims that she is more confident preparing for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo compared to her experience four years ago. "In 2016 I was scrambling to make the Olympics that I was just trying to throw everything in there to hopefully make the team. This time I have a little bit more confidence and I know I am going to be more prepared and especially not coming off a college year where you spend a lot of time [in] short course. I am not going to have to all of sudden throw in the long course. I think it's going to be really exciting and my nervous level is going be exact same regardless of where I am at but I think beforehand I am going to have more confidence and hopefully a little bit more experiences as well." (SwimSwam YouTube channel, 21 Feb 2019)

TURNING PROFESSIONAL
She gave up her final season at University of California, Berkeley and turned professional in August 2018. "It's definitely been amazing and I love it so far but it's a huge adjustment at the same time, like I don't spend time with 20-something girls at my age every single day and that's definitely something new. I always have been told that it's lonely when you turn pro, and I definitely think there is a lonely aspect to it but also a really exciting aspect to it. I mean this is my career and what I get to focus on that I don't have a lot of school or anything really weighing me down and I have a lot of freedom to focus on swimming. That's something I love." (SwimSwam YouTube channel, 21 Feb 2019)

CROHN'S DISEASE
At age nine she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel condition. She underwent a number of different treatments to help control the disease, and has developed a routine that focuses on medication and diet to keep her body healthy. "I could never have trained and competed at the level I have the past few years if I hadn't been properly diagnosed and treated. Crohn's is a disease a lot of people have heard of but don't understand. I want to change that in every way I can." (usaswimming.org, 11 Nov 2016; nytimes.com, 15 Jul 2016; excellesports.com, 24 Oct 2017; swimmingworldmagazine.com, 28 May 2018)