Kathleen Baker

Kathleen Baker (born February 28, 1997) is an American competition swimmer who specializes in freestyle and backstroke events. At the 2016 Summer Olympics, she won a gold medal in the 4x100-meter medley relay and a silver medal in the individual 100-meter backstroke. She is the former world-record holder in 100 meter backstroke, set on July 28, 2018 in 58.00 at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine, CA. Baker is also the former world-record holder in the 4x100 meter medley relay with Lilly King, Kelsi Worrell, and Simone Manuel.

Kathleen Baker
Personal information
Nickname(s)Thleen, ThleenBean, Little Bean [1]
National teamUnited States
Born (1997-02-28) February 28, 1997
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Height5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight149 lb (68 kg)
StrokesBackstroke, Freestyle
ClubSwimMAC Carolina
College teamUniversity of California, Berkeley

Early life

Baker attended Forsyth Country Day School until the tenth grade and then was home-schooled, so it would be easy to travel back and forth between Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina to swim and train with SwimMAC Carolina. Her mother swam for the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, and her older sister, Rachel, currently swims for Washington and Lee University.[2][3]

In 2010, Baker was diagnosed with Crohn's disease.[4]


College swimming

Baker attends the University of California, Berkeley, where she competes for the California Golden Bears swimming and diving team.[5]


At the 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals, the qualification meet for the 2014 Pan Pacifics, Baker finished second in the 200-meter backstroke and qualified for the team. She finished ninth in the 200-meter backstroke at Pan Pacifics, just outside the final.

Baker was also selected to the 2015 World Championships roster in the 100-meter backstroke. She placed eighth in the final of the 100-meter backstroke. She also swam in the prelims for the 4x100-meter medley relay, but did not receive a medal as the final squad finished fourth.[6]

2016 Summer Olympics

At the 2016 Olympic Trials, Baker qualified for her first Olympics in the 100-meter backstroke by finishing second with a time of 59.29.

In Rio, she won a silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 58.75, three tenths behind the winner Katinka Hosszú. She was not considered by many to be a medal threat since she had never broken 59 seconds prior to the Olympics.[7] Baker also won a gold medal alongside Lilly King, Dana Vollmer, and Simone Manuel as the lead off of the 4x100-meter medley relay.


2017 World Championships
4×100 m medley 3:51.55 (WR)
100 m backstroke58.58
200 m backstroke2:06.48

At the 2017 World Championships, Baker won three medals. She won silver in the 100-meter backstroke,[8] bronze in the 200-meter backstroke,[9] and gold in the 4x100-meter medley relay.[10] Though she did not medal in the 50-meter backstroke, Baker broke Natalie Coughlin's American record in the event in the semifinals with a time of 27.48.[11] Baker led off the women's 4x100-meter medley relay, with the team winning with a time of 3:51.55. The team of Baker, Lilly King, Kelsi Worrell, and Simone Manuel broke the 2012 world record of 3:52.05 set by Missy Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer, and Allison Schmitt.[12][13]

See also


  1. Murtagh, Alison (July 18, 2016). "5 Reasons to Cheer for Olympian Kathleen Baker". Swimming World. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
  2. Lowe, Kegan (August 9, 2016). "Winston-Salem's Kathleen Baker takes silver in 100m backstroke". journalnow.com. BH Media Group, Inc. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  3. Fowler, Scott (July 1, 2016). "For swimmer Kathleen Baker, 19, road to Olympics ran between Winston-Salem, Charlotte". charlotteobserver.com. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  4. Crouse, Karen (July 14, 2016). "Swimmer Kathleen Baker Overcomes Crohn's Disease to Become an Olympian". nytimes.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  5. "Kathleen Baker Bio". calbears.com. California Golden Bears. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  6. "Kathleen Baker Bio". SwimSwam. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  7. "Kathleen Baker: It's a Good Time to Go A Best Time (Video)". swimswam.com. Swim Swam. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  8. "Results Summary". Omega Timing. July 25, 2017. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  9. "Results Summary". Omega Timing. July 29, 2017. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  10. "Results Summary". Omega Timing. July 30, 2017. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  11. "Kathleen Baker Downs Natalie Coughlin's 50 Back American Record - Swimming World News". Swimming World News. July 26, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  12. "U.S. set world record to win women's 4x100 metres medley relay". Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  13. "Watch USA Women Eclipse WR in 4x100 Medley Relay (Race Video)". SwimSwam. July 30, 2017. Retrieved August 1, 2017.

Preceded by
Kylie Masse
Women's 100 metre backstroke
world record holder (long course)

28 July 2018 – 28 July 2019
Succeeded by
Regan Smith
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