New Zealand’s Cara Baker Denied Open Water Olympic Entry

According to her facebook page, New Zealand’s Cara Baker has been denied a spot in the Olympic 10km swim at the London Olympics that she earned this morning in Setubal, Portugal.

Baker finished 17th in the open water 10km swim, and as the top finisher from Oceania was extended a “quota invite” from FINA to the Olympics. The below is a quote from Baker’s facebook page.

“Top 15 swimmers heading to Olympics! Unfortunately for me, the NZOC set the standard of top 9 and I was presented the Oceania spot. Extremely gutted considering I was holding top 5 the whole was till the 6th and final lap and just had nothing left.  It’s in the New Zealand Olympic Committees hands now.  Extremely proud of myself and gave it everything!”

Swimming New Zealand recognized the dilemma in a press release today, stating that ““We will prepare a case to our selectors to take up with the NZOC because the spot won’t be filled otherwise. Cara certainly swam well enough to prove she can foot it in the field for London.”

What they’re alluding to is the fact that Baker and her teammate Charlotte Webby were the only two swimmers from Oceania in the Olympic qualifying race, and thus were the only options to fill the continental spot in the lineup.

That would seem to imply that, unless the New Zealand Olympic Committee relents, the 25th and final qualifying spot would go to Dutch swimmer Linsy Heister, who was 16th overall (though the Olympic qualifying rules don’ t seem to specifically address the situation).

This would be a huge blow to the 20-year old Baker, who has battled severe health issues over the past few seasons that almost left her out of the sport. This year, however, back and feeling healthy she’s been on a tear. Once healthy again, though she won both the 5km and 10km race at New Zealand Nationals in the spring.

Watch and see if her male counterpart Kane Radford, who won the Tiburon mile last year, will be in the same position after tomorrow’s men’s qualifier.

For a federation that has been overrun for years with controversy and internal bickering, it would be a huge boost to Swimming New Zealand’s future to be able to bring some good news to the federation; instead, this great success (open water qualifying is immensely more difficult than pool) has a shadow cast across it.

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Let her go! She’s a good girl with a great head on her shoulders. Think of what this can lead to for Cara.
She fainted multiple times in Shanghai before the 5km and still managed a top ten finish!


Well stated friends … Cara swam a great race and deservedly got the invitation. The FINA rules do state that without any further Oceania qualifiers here in Portugal, that indeed Linsy Heister would be the next to be invited … I spoke with Linsy and brought this possibility to her shortly after the race and, according to her, the Dutch Federation placed a stipulation on Netherlands swimmers to finish in the top six at this qualifier to earn approval to accept an invitation. Should those two Federations hold their ground, I would expect the final slot to be extended to Mexico’s Lizeth Rueda Santos who had a fine race finishing in1:46:06 – 19th and one minute thirty-six seconds behind today’s… Read more »


Let her go. And let Sophia batchelor go if she receives an invite. Sophia won her 100 fly at Nz opens in a time that was 0.01 off the fina “A” qualifying time. She will be high on the list for an invite but good old swimming NZ are saying no they won’t accept it. They need to look after these girls that would kill to swim for their country and so rightly should be without this political nightmare!

About Braden Keith

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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