Kathleen Baker Earns CSCAA Swimmer of the Year at 2017 W. NCAAs

2017 WOMEN’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

California sophomore Kathleen Baker was named the 2017 CSCAA Swimmer of the Year after winning three individual events and helping the Golden Bears to a 2nd-place finish at the 2017 NCAA Division I championships.

Baker, the only swimmer to win three events outright, kicked off her individual swims with a 1:51.69 in the 200 IM.  She overcame a stacked field that included Stanford’s Ella Eastin, the fastest swimmer ever in the event.  Baker then doubled in the backstrokes, taking the 100 back in 49.84 (although she swam a 49.80 in prelims), and the 200 back in 1:48.44.

Additionally, Baker was a crucial part of four Cal relays.  She led off Cal’s 800 Free Relay en route to a 2nd place finish, then led off the Bears 400 medley relay.  Her leadoff leg was the 2nd fastest 100 back ever, although Cal’s victory was negated when the relay was disqualified due to an early takeoff.  Baker also had the fastest leadoff leg in the field on Cal’s 1st place 200 medley relay, then wrapped up the meet by helping Cal take 3rd in the 400 free relay.

While Baker had an impressive week, there were definitely other swimmers whose performances certainly received consideration.  Katie Ledecky also won three events, and while she tied in the 200 free with Mallory Comerford, Ledecky did take down a U.S. Open record in the 500 free.  She also won the 1650 free and contributed to Stanford’s two free relay victories.  Simone Manuel and Lilly King each had two individual victories, and each swimmer also set new records in at least one swim.

Baker is the fifth Cal Bear to win the award since it was first given out in 2005.

Previous winners:

  • 2016 Lilly King, Indiana
  • 2015 Missy Franklin, California
  • 2014 Brittany MacLean, Georgia
  • 2013 Elizabeth Pelton, California
  • 2012 Caitlin Leverenz, California
  • 2011 Katinka Hosszu, Southern California
  • 2010 Julia Smit, Stanford
  • 2009 Dana Vollmer, California
  • 2008 Caroline Burkle, Florida
  • 2007 Kara Lynn Joyce, Georgia
  • 2006 Kara Lynn Joyce, Georgia
  • 2005 Kirsty Coventry, Auburn

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Juh

Great meeting CAL #GoBear

Jonathan W Washburn

This is a tough call, but I thought Katie Ledecky earned it. Yes, there is so much talent to choose from! But if we were picking teams, I’m pretty sure any captain would pick Ledecky first. In her events, she is a guaranteed victor. And she does have an ever expanding event menu. She has every option available in her swimming and life path, and I think we are all lucky she decided to swim in college. If I had to give this award, I would have chosen Katie. Not even close. She did help her team win the whole thing, after all. But Baker was impressive, particularly winning the IM outside of her ‘specialty’. In fairness, Baker did step… Read more »

SwimGeek

As for the “guaranteed victor” part — did you not see the 200 free results?

SwimGeek

Baker scored more indv. points than Ledecky did (60 vs. 58.5). And she swam 4 relays to Ledecky’s two. If we’re voting on GOAT swimmers, Ledecky would trounce anyone else at this meet. But for swimmer of THIS meet, Baker is a good choice.

OBear73

“But if we were picking teams, I’m pretty sure any captain would pick Ledecky first. In her events, she is a guaranteed victor. And she does have an ever expanding event menu. She has every option available in her swimming and life path, and I think we are all lucky she decided to swim in college.” What the heck does this after to do with selecting swimmer of the year? Perhaps if the favorite Eastin had won the 200IM or the favorite Ally Howe had won the 100Bk then Ledecky would have gotten the award. It’s all shoulda, woulda, coulda…but didn’t!

Pat

Not a good or fair call in awarding Baker IMHO. Ledecky had three individual wins at NCAAs, an incredible individual American record, two individual NCAA records, lapped almost entire field in 1650 Free, was huge part of two American-NCAA record relays both of which beat Baker-Cal relay squads, and KL showed her range when both she and MC both had to give their all to beat the world’s best SCY sprinter, Manuel, at quick 200 Y Free distance. Ledecky arguably had the best NCAA season EVER by a female swimmer, in addition to five wins af NCAA meet, Ledecky had almost a dozen in-season NCAA-American record swims even in off events like 400 IM, quietly inspiring and contributing to bringing… Read more »

OBear73

I’m not arguing that KL didn’t deserve the award too but more or less commenting on portions of Jonathan’s reasoning that didn’t make sense. Also bringing up the fact that if the favorites, Ella or Ally had won their respective events then there wouldn’t even be this discussion. At this time he just sounds like a homer which he is!

Tom

Not a Cal fan but happy for Baker…She totally deserves it IMHO. Performing at this level having Crohn disease is a marvelous achievement… She comes across as a very nice person.

PsychoDad

She does seam a very nice person. Very happy for her. Anyone but Lilly King.

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