Olympic Champion Kathleen Baker Fights Back: GMM presented by SwimOutlet.com

Gold Medal Minute presented by SwimOutlet.com

Olympic champion and backstroke swim star Kathleen Baker is back. She swam faster this November at the Greensboro Pro Swim than she did at the 2019 World Championships.   There no surprises there considering the endless health challenges she’s battled since the spring, including pneumonia and a broken rib, putting her out of the water for seven weeks.  Slowly getting back in shape, Baker herniated a disc in June, knocking her out of training for an eighth week on the run-up to World Championships.

Way too early predictions for U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials:

Baker is back after banking some base-work this fall. I think she’s right at this best 100m back time, 58.00, and I’m thinking she dips under slightly. I want to see a 57.9.  I think that’s second to Regan Smith, the current world record holder. Baker in 200 back? I don’t know. We’ll check in late spring 2020 on that race.

Women’s 100m back should be one of the most competitive races at U.S. Trials with a deep field of talent. Baker will be fighting for slot on the U.S. Olympic Team, but who cares what I think. What do you think? 

Follow Kathleen Baker on Instagram here.  

Follow  Gold Medal Mel Stewart on Instagram here.  



This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by SwimOutlet.com. Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of SwimSwam.com, a Swimming News website.

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3 years ago

Wish her well. Baker was phenomenal in Irvine last year, I hope she bounces back to that level or even better. IMHO she has the potential to medal in 200 IM in Tokyo if she focuses on IM.

3 years ago

She’s a tough competitor, so she’ll be ready as long as she doesn’t have issues with her health.

She speaks about Regan Smith, so she knows that’s the girl who’s going to give her the most competition.

Hint of Lime
3 years ago

One rough half a year for Baker. Didn’t realize the pneumonia, rib, and disc came in such rapid succession for her — some really tough stuff. Rooting for her to successfully overcome & push past all of this adversity!

3 years ago

She’s pretty remarkable. Her crohn’s disease is a major health issue. I’m very impressed with her.

Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

Wish her well, but 58.3 and Smoliga beats her out for second. The herniated disc (though healed) is likely to be problem because of what she has to avoid and be careful with. Hopefully it won’t be Missy 2.0. Smoliga has only been getting better, and she’s showing some toughness in the ISL format with back-to-backs of back. Hope they tie and have to have a smile-off because those are two of the greatest smiles in sports.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

I think you should worry more about Smoliga because 100 back is her one chance— way too many ahead of her in the 50 and 100 free. Baker is no fool and knows what she is up against and she has three legit shots— 1 and 2 back and 2 IM.

3 years ago

I agree huge Georgia fan, but I honestly think Baker has a better chance especially with the 200 back/IM being options if she is in shape. I would be happy if they both make the team though and swim well. We got alot of great Americans it will be a good Olympic trials thats for sure

Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
3 years ago

Yes, I am not doubting Smoliga in any way. Women’s 100 back will be a bloodbath. And both of them are experienced in said pressure cooker.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

Missy had no health issues that affected her performance. It’s a myth. She completed PP meet where she had back muscles spasm at practice and had two successful college years after that. Her surgery happened well after she was out of competition. She just grew up from school girl prodigy into regular woman.

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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