In Battle for the Ages, Eastin and Baker Go Join Top 10 All-Time

Even without superstars and probable Olympians Missy Franklin, Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, and Abbey Weitzeil, all of whom rightfully could have been swimming at this meet, the 2016 women’s Pac-12 Championships saw a battle for the ages on Thursday evening in Federal Way.

Stanford’s Ella Eastin swam a 1:52.77 in the 200 yard IM, and Cal’s Kathleen Baker swam a 1:52.80 to not only dominate the field, but to simultaneously jump into the ranks of the all-time fastest 200 yard IM’s in history.

Only twice in history has one race seen this much speed in a single event: at the 2012 NCAA Championships in Auburn, where Caitlin Leverenz and Katinka Hosszu went head-to-head in the two fastest times ever (1:51.77 and 1:51.80, respectively); and at the 2014 NCAA Championships, where Maya DiRado and Melanie Margalis (1:52.50 and 1:52.64) also put in top-10 all-time performances.

The difference between those 4 swimmers and these two is that those 4 were classed as a junior and three seniors when they put in their all-time swims.

Eastin and Baker are merely freshmen.

Eastin, in fact, is still only 18 years old, which makes that a new National Age Group Record. It beats the 1:53.77 done by Katie Hoff in 2007.

The pair are almost painfully evenly-matched, and were never separated by more than .15 seconds at a 50 yard split.

  • After fly: Eastin 24.46, Baker 24.50
  • After back: Eastin 51.89, Baker 52.04
  • After breast: Eastin 1:25.29, Baker 1:24.26
  • After free: Eastin 1:52.77, Baker 1:52.80

Unlike some of the above swimmers, who were able to atone for their weaknesses with strengths in other strokes, Eastin and Baker are both four-stroke IM’ers, with no real weaknesses at all.

Eastin’s siwm is the 10th-best of all-time (7th-best swimmer), and Baker’s swim ties her teammate Liz Pelton as the 11th-best swim of all-time (8th-best swimmer).

The new 10 fastest 200 yard IM’ers in history:

  • Caitlin Leverenz, 1:51.77 – 2012
  • Katinka Hosszu, 1:51.80 – 2012
  • Missy Franklin, 1:52.11 – 2015
  • Julia Smit, 1:52.31 – 2010
  • Maya DiRado, 1:52.50 – 2014
  • Melanie Margalis, 1:52.64 – 2014
  • Ella Eastin, 1:52.77 – 2016
  • Kathleen Baker, 1:52.80 – 2016
  • Liz Pelton, 1:52.80 – 2016
  • Kathleen Hersey, 1:53.33 – 2009

Of note, each of the 10 swimmers above swam their best times while in college.

The 3rd-place finisher in the 200 IM, USC’s Kirsten Vose, is also a freshman – she swam 1:55.65.

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That’s an NAG for Eastin also. If I’m not mistaken she’s still 18.


Beating one of Katie Hoff’s NAG records, in an event in which she won World Championships (albeit in the LCM format), is no small accomplishment! Congratulations Miss. Eastin, and congrat’s to Miss. Baker as well!

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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