W Swimming: *Amy/Kathleen/McL* (Dream Team 2015) = SUPERSTARS in more ways than one!

UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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Such amazing stories that I thought this really deserved its own thread... :p

BearBackerinLA said:

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/mclaughlin-720519-trials-butterfly.html


Due to accident, Katie McLaughlin enters U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials as an underdog



The rising U.S. national team swimmer fractured two vertebrae in her lower neck during a beach accident in January.

McLaughlin injured her neck diving into the ocean while on a training trip to Hawaii with her teammates at Cal. The college freshman said her head hit the sand, a jolt that fractured her C6 and C7 vertebrae. The injury threatened her participation at the Trials and her quality of life.

"It could have been a lot worse," she said at the Speedo Grand Challenge last month in Irvine. "(With) any neck injury, you can have surgery or even be paralyzed. I got really lucky to be able to walk away from my accident."

The injury spun McLaughlin from Orange County's strongest Olympic contender in swimming to an underdog in the eyes of prognosticators.


(Against all odds, Katie showed true grit in earning finals swims in the 200 fly (6th), and in the 200 free (8th) @ 2016 OTs!

In fact, McL's 200 fly PB of 2:06.95 from 2015 Worlds (which she actually was on track to handily smash if it hadn't been for the neck injury), would have earned her a Rio berth just behind Camille Adams' winning 2:06.80 @ Trials - 2nd place Hali Flickinger's time was more than half a sec slower, at 2:07.50!)


UrsusArctosCalifornicus said:

Amy's achievements @ OTs are even more remarkable & laudable in light of the following revelations :acclaim:

Mysterious ailment could've cost [U]Amy Bilquist[/U] more than just an Olympic spot



Her father, Brent Bilquist, said warnings from doctors were dire:

"We may have findings that your daughter is dying."

Bilquist said she didn't want others "to look at me with sad puppy eyes" before the trials, so she did not divulge her condition publicly until afterward.

"I just wanted to go in as a competitor and see what I could do," she said. "Not giving myself an out."

Last summer, she was recovering from stress fractures two in her left leg, one in her right that had long impaired her. In practice, she could swim but not push off walls. She was told the bones wouldn't heal unless she did not swim at all for six to 12 months

That was not as frightening as abdominal pain. The condition was acute in the weeks between February's Pac-12 Conference meet and March's NCAA Championships, and again after NCAAs.

"I never really felt anything like that in my life," Bilquist said. "I couldn't sit up. I couldn't roll over in bed. I couldn't do anything on my own."

She once felt so sick that she called Uber in the middle of the night so she could be transported to a hospital. She was in and out of hospitals from March through mid-May.

Bilquist, at 18, would have been the youngest swimmer on the Olympic team. In a study published by SwimSwam.com, she had the second-biggest improvement of all those at the trials, calculated by percentage cut from seed time.


http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/2016/07/13/mysterious-ailment-couldve-cost-amy-bilquist-more-than-just-olympic-spot/87025368/


(Amy sooo narrowly missed making the Rio Olympic Team @ Trials, coming in 3rd behind Kathleen by a mere 0.08 sec in the 100 back (good for 8th fastest in the world at the time), and 4th in the 200 back!)




UrsusArctosCalifornicus said:


Swimmer Kathleen Baker Overcomes Crohn's Disease to Become an Olympian



For Baker, one of about 700,000 Americans who have Crohn's disease, the answer could fill a 70-page spiral notebook, and it is not as easy as WebMD. How does one begin to explain the physical and psychosocial challenges of living with a disease a chronic, recalcitrant gastrointestinal inflammation that can be embarrassing to talk about? How could she describe the medications that can lose their efficacy over time, or a fatigue so fathomless it can sap your will?

Baker, 19, has fought to prevent her health challenges from defining her. Talking for the first time about her condition, she said: "I found doctors who weren't going to be just like, 'You're Kathleen with Crohn's disease.' I need to be Kathleen the swimmer with Crohn's disease."

Baker, who was born and raised in Winston-Salem, N.C., can remember clearly when she started feeling poorly. It was February 2010, the same weekend she set her first two national age-group records, shortly before her 13th birthday.

Her parents, Norris and Kimberley, sat down with her that night to discuss the disease. By then, she had typed "Crohn's" into an internet search and had read what she called "horrible stories" about people having to have their intestines cut out.

"It was the worst feeling in the world," she said, pausing to wipe away tears. "I love swimming more than anything in the entire world, and I thought my swimming career was over."

The next year was a blur of doctors' offices and medical tests and illnesses, including whooping cough and a broken rib sustained during a violent coughing episode. The first Crohn's treatment she was put on involved a daily regimen of more than a dozen pills, but it was ineffective.

Eighth grade was a nightmare, Baker said. Already thin, she lost more than 10 pounds, prompting her mother to feed her a cheeseburger and a 500-calorie piece of cheesecake each night to try to keep her weight up.

Her health began to stabilize after her treatment was changed to incorporate monthly intravenous infusions that consumed most of two days, including one for recovery. But after a few years, the infusions ceased to be effective, and Baker began a regimen she continues to follow that includes giving herself biweekly injections in the abdomen.

As Baker sought to manage the disease, training through bouts of stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhea, her parents and older sister, Rachel, strained under the weight of her struggles. Kimberley Baker sometimes excused herself to take a shower just so she could release the tears that she held back in her daughter's presence. Rachel, who swims at Washington & Lee University, struggled to understand why the disease had targeted her sister and not her.

Baker's determination sometimes makes her a difficult patient. It was with great reluctance that she agreed to limit her training to one pool practice a day. Her parents, doctors and coaches have all grown exasperated trying to persuade her to back off during training, or to forgo it altogether, when she is experiencing Crohn's flare-ups.

The eight-contestant field in the final (of the 2016 US Olympic Trials) included the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin and Natalie Coughlin, a former world-record holder in the event. Baker set a personal best of 59.29 seconds to finish 27-hundredths of a second behind the winner, Olivia Smoliga.

When Dr. Kappelman, in North Carolina, found out that Baker had made the Olympic team, he said he called his wife and his parents and then stepped outside his office and announced the news "as if an amazing thing had happened to my own child."

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/15/sports/olympics/kathleen-baker-crohns-disease-swimming-olympics.html


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tedbear said:

Between Katie's broken neck, Amy's stress fractures and stomach infection, and Kathleen's Crohn's, maybe we should rename the [U]Dream Team[/U] to "Team Perseverance". So proud to have all these ladies attend our beloved University!



Yup, really, really incredible how these 3 young women handled themselves in facing these very daunting challenges, truly a testimony to their strength of character and a massive inspiration to all, I reckon!!!



Whilst Amy's stress fractures along with Katie's neck injury have been the subjects of much discussion here, I for one had no inkling of the struggles Amy had to cope with this spring in relation to her abdominal pain - had originally assumed that Bilquist's slight underperformance @ NCAAs (relative to her fab Pac-12s that is), could be explained away by "freshie nerves" at the big dance.



Nor that Kathleen has been battling Crohn's for so many years of her young life...

Neither of them had ever talked about these serious ailments on social media or to the press AFAIK - they certainly didn't use them as an excuse or to exploit sympathy in any fashion whatsoever.

Must-see video :p => https://twitter.com/i/videos/tweet/751929151863468032

:gobears:
OBear073akaSMFan
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UrsusArctosCalifornicus;842708731 said:

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Must-see video :p => https://twitter.com/i/videos/tweet/751929151863468032 :cheer
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:gobears:


rooling
UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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Posnanski: Kathleen Baker's Crohn's disease isn't a curse




http://www.nbcolympics.com/news/joe-posnanski-kathleen-bakers-crohns-disease-isnt-curse


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Kathleen Baker, Amazing Olympian with Crohn's Disease

July 24th, 2016




http://www.drmirkin.com/histories-and-mysteries/kathleen-baker-amazing-olympian-with-crohns-disease.html


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jyamada
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UrsusArctosCalifornicus;842711471 said:

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[COLOR="#000066"][SIZE=5]Posnanski: [U]Kathleen Baker[/U]'s Crohn's disease isn't a curse[/SIZE][/COLOR]

[IMG]

http://www.nbcolympics.com/news/joe-posnanski-kathleen-bakers-crohns-disease-isnt-curse


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Thanks UAC! Very nice story!
UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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@jyamada - at the risk of confessing to an excess of sentimentality, have to admit that these stories do tend to trigger a drop or two of wetness to me eyes lol

Anyway, bit off-topic, but this is what Amy was up to today out in Vegas whilst the whole world's attention was focussed on Rio...skydiving & skyjumping:

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Amy Bilquist: Pretty chill morning from 15,000 ft up #sick




Amy Bilquist: It was a chill afternoon... 885 ft felt like nothing #sick




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This tweet from a former Bears recruit also elicited a chuckle or two from me



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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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UrsusArctosCalifornicus said:



Kathleen Baker and Ryan Murphy Follow Their Own Paths to Olympic Medals


Marsh realized that Baker, dealing with Crohn's Disease that she would make public in July, needed more recoveryhe built more rest into her practice scheduleand greater specialization.

Marsh convinced Baker to put all her eggs in one basketthe 100 back. At Trials, she would not even compete in the 200 IM or 200 backthe event in which she first qualified for a senior national team in 2014.

Baker broke out of her slump in prompt fashion with when she posted a lifetime-best time of 59.39 to qualify second for the final at Olympic Trials behind Olivia Smoliga.

Things weren't perfect for Baker at training campMarsh admitted that she had some setbacks with injury and illness during the month the U.S. team trained togetherbut everything came together in Rio, when Baker led the way through both prelims and semifinals with identical times of 58.87.

In the final, Baker finished three tenths behind gold medalist Katinka Hosszu, but a silver was more than satisfying for someone who came into the meet with few expectations of winning an individual medal.

And after the battle with Crohn's and the struggles in her first year of college, the moment was even sweeter.

"Knowing something could be taken away from you definitely makes you appreciate it more," Baker said. "I'm loving every single minute of this, having the meet of my life at a perfect time."

The paths that Baker and Murphy took to the podium in the 100 back seem wildly divergent, but these two Cal Bears each had a plan that was executed to a T. They had expectations to live up to, and they did so. For each, the moment meant something special because of the other players involved.


http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/kathleen-baker-and-ryan-murphy-follow-their-own-paths-to-olympic-medals/



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Posnanski: Kathleen Baker's silver medal represents more than the best race of her life



http://www.nbcolympics.com/news/posnanski-kathleen-bakers-silver-medal-represents-more-best-race-her-life


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Kathleen Baker Defies Crohn's Disease and Doctors to Win Silver



http://www.people.com/people/package/article/0,,20996464_21023334,00.html


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UrsusArctosCalifornicus said:





W 100m Back RACE VIDEO: http://www.nbcolympics.com/news/katinka-hosszu-takes-second-gold-rio-games-100m-backstroke

POST-RACE VIDEO: https://twitter.com/i/videos/tweet/762837117726621696

POST-RACE INTERVIEW: https://twitter.com/i/videos/tweet/762885085108408322



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UrsusArctosCalifornicus said:



David Marsh: "If anyone sees @KathleenBaker2 's other ear ring on the bottom of the Olympic pool - pls grab it..@NBCOlympics"



NBC Olympics: "We'll review the footage. #EarringSearchParty"

This just in...we can now all breathe a sigh of relief for Thleen Bean, as she'll have her pair of good luck charms on her when she faces the big test in the semis tonight :beer: :p

David Marsh: "Michael from Reuters found it! Thanks!"





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Alyssa Marsh: "All of you better be on your computer or tv watching my girl @KathleenBaker2 swim her first race at the Olympics"
"I'm shaking KATHLEEN WENT SO FAST GUYS 58.84!!!!!!!"
"SHE IS TOP SEED FOR SEMIS"



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U.S. Olympic Team VIDEO: https://twitter.com/i/videos/tweet/763022811963228160








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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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http://instagr.am/p/BI-6l-ah55v
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http://instagr.am/p/BI-XsHCDmnr

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Phoebe: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE ONE AND ONLY FROOMIE!! Thank you for always pushing me to be better! @amybilquist



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Amy Bilquist: Birthday mood



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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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[SIZE=3]U.S. Olympic Team[/SIZE]: "ALWAYS believe in yourself." @USASwimming's @KathleenBaker2

GO #TeamUSA! ����

[IMG]?t=HBhlaHR0cHM6Ly9hbXAudHdpbWcuY29tL3Byb2QvZGVmYXVs dC8yMDE2LzA4LzExLzE0LzI2YTk5OTViLTg4ZDgtNGFmNi04NWM2LTk4YzE4 Yzk0MzU1MV9wb3N0ZXItMTAwMC5qcGcUwAcUnAQAFgASAA&s=Tm9oxnIcdi0pHRo1ZXQhhA6rUlvnAaqgD2OnC2DZdYE[/IMG]

[video=youtube;76zh6cQpJRk][/video]




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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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[COLOR="#006699"]Here are a few more photos celebrating little bean's Rio accomplishments, just cos I can

Additional images originally posted in the [U]Rio 2016 Olympics - *SWIMMING*[/U] thread:[/COLOR]

[INDENT]http://bearinsider.com/forums/showthread.php?102054-Rio-2016-Olympics-*SWIMMING*&p=842712949&viewfull=1#post842712949

http://bearinsider.com/forums/showthread.php?102054-Rio-2016-Olympics-*SWIMMING*&p=842714308&viewfull=1#post842714308

http://bearinsider.com/forums/showthread.php?102054-Rio-2016-Olympics-*SWIMMING*&p=842714491&viewfull=1#post842714491[/INDENT]

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[COLOR="#A9A9A9"][SIZE=7]��[/SIZE][/COLOR] [SIZE=5][U]W 100m Back[/U][/SIZE]













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[COLOR="#DAA520"][SIZE=7]��[/SIZE][/COLOR] [SIZE=5][U]W 4 x 100m Medley Relay[/U][/SIZE]

[IMG]?oh=4c458 dc42b609c556c2e936457ab35de&oe=5818B275[/IMG]














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[COLOR="#ff0099"][SIZE=5]Kathleen Baker: 5 Things To Know About Olympic Silver Medalist With Crohn's Disease[/SIZE][/COLOR]



[video=youtube;KZPx613bD-s][/video]


https://hollywoodlife.com/2016/08/09/who-is-kathleen-baker-swimmer-usa-olympics/


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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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[SIZE=4]Simone Manuel, Lilly King, & Kathleen Baker Interview on Today Show | LIVE 8-15-16[/SIZE]

Published on 15 Aug 2016


[video=youtube;I1xhwDCoOh8][/video]



[COLOR="#006699"]WARNING: for those in this audience who may be particularly allergic to any mention of the Furd, please feel free to skip to 2:03 in the above video[/COLOR] :p


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[COLOR="#000066"][SIZE=5]Monday at 5: Kathleen Baker speaks with WXII's Kimberly Van Scoy[/SIZE][/COLOR]

Winston-Salem native and now two-time Olympic medalist Kathleen Baker had a few minutes to speak with WXII's Kimberly Van Scoy Monday morning.




http://www.wxii12.com/sports/2016-olympics/monday-at-5-kathleen-baker-speaks-with-wxiis-kimberly-van-scoy/41208794


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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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[COLOR="#006699"]
Just wanted to archive Coach Marsh's interview (and my verbose thoughts on Thleen) here, as the original will no doubt get buried amidst the myriads of posts (sorry, mostly mine :p) over in the Rio thread...
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UrsusArctosCalifornicus;842724336 said:

[COLOR="#006699"]
Swimming World's interview with David Marsh - some great insights:
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[SIZE=4]David Marsh (ASCA 2016)[/SIZE]

Published on 9 Sep 2016

USA Head Women's Coach and SwimMAC Carolina Head Coach David Marsh stops by Swimming World TV to discuss Rio and more

[video=youtube;Y-kv3WDrVAE][/video]




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[COLOR="#006699"]
... talks extensively about Thleen at one point[COLOR="#696969"] (8:16 - 11:35)[/COLOR].

Massive props to Marsh for being gracious and not rising to the bait, when David Rieder prompted him with [COLOR="#696969"]"coming back from Cal kind of struggling - and then breaking out at Olympic Trials...where did this all come from..."[/COLOR].

Instead of taking all the credit, DM responded that [COLOR="#696969"]"she came home from Cal with a giant improvement to her turn which had been a weakness. So all that racing short course, what that did for her, she had figured out how to come off the wall...and we hadn't been able to get that in 2 years prior - and so that was taken care of."[/COLOR] :beer:

Marsh went on to discuss Kathleen's Crohn's - how she wants to swim everything (and is really good at it all), but that for the leadup to Trials, they were able to get little Bean healthy again, focussing on just her main event instead of having to worry about the NCAA's full programme or that from all the dual meets. Did throw in a mention of Kathleen being injured, and then sick, whilst in training camp (even though she was getting back her strength and threw down some nice segments), which had been alluded to earlier in this thread.

Also that Kathleen [COLOR="#696969"]"learned how to control her speed over the summer"[/COLOR] - which I'll fully agree with...Baker has always had this natural tendency to go out fast (esp in long course), putting the rest of the field on notice the first half of the race, but then struggling a bit on her back half as some of the other more controlled swimmers start to reel her in. That in itself isn't necessarily a bad strategy if that plays to one's strengths (think Natalie). But by holding back a mite in the opening portion of the [U]100 back[/U] final, I think Kathleen was able to draw better on her newly-rediscovered reserves to finish hard @ Rio, not giving all that much to Hosszu, and out-touching the hard-charging Fu & Masse!

Marsh made a very pertinent point about protecting Kathleen who always wants to push beyond, his many years of training her helping him to develop a special awareness of her topsy-turvy condition where she can do it one day but not necessarily the next day.

Personally feel that this is a crucial area to be sensitive of going forward (which Teri & the coaching staff are well aware of I'm sure!), as our swim team gets bombarded by the multiple & often conflicting demands & requirements of prepping for another run at the NCAA title, whilst juggling their intensive academic workload and other responsibilities/distractions!

Undoubtedly Kathleen & all her teammates wouldn't ever want to make any excuses - will always strive to give each other and the school everything that they have to offer, and more besides. But at the same time I believe it's equally important that they all take good care of themselves first, be constantly mindful of their physical health, mind & priorities...

Becoming one of the best in the pool is a very laudable goal, and there are of course all the attendant expectations/pressures based on the rich history & reputation of this team.

However I myself at least would actually much prefer to see a happy & relatively healthy Thleen who takes on a lighter training & dual schedule (esp on days when the Crohn's flares up), even if it might mean her scoring contribution to the :bear:s will be significantly reduced, than trying to win it all in March at the expense of an individual's health & well-being!

Alright, reckon I've rambled on enough, this is probably all very obvious anyway :p

:gobears:
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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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[SIZE=3]Pac-12 Network[/SIZE] ‏[COLOR="#696969"]@Pac12Network[/COLOR]

If @KathleenBaker2 were an emoji ➡ ��

Crohn's disease didn't keep Kathleen Baker from Olympic gold + silver.

She's on #Pac12SR tonight after volleyball.




[INDENT]http://pac-12.com/videos/sports-report-preview-cal-swimmer-us-olympian-kathleen-baker-managing-crohns-disease[/INDENT]


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[COLOR="#006699"][SIZE=5]What Did Kathleen Baker Have To Overcome To Become An Olympic Silver Medalist?[/SIZE][/COLOR]

[COLOR="#DAA520"][SIZE=3]VIDEO ->[/SIZE][/COLOR] [video=youtube;BAnp6VfmScg][/video]


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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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[COLOR="#000066"]



[SIZE=5][U]Cal Women's Swimming[/U]: Baker reflects on Rio: 'Seeing my facial expressions at the end was priceless'[/SIZE]


[SIZE=3]Cal Bears[/SIZE]

Published on 16 Sep 2016

Pac-12 Network's Kate Scott catches up with Kathleen Baker, who won silver in the 100m backstroke and gold in the 4x100 medley relay at the Rio Olympics. Baker discusses her unexpected road to Rio, her battle with Crohn's disease, and getting the key to her home town.


[video=youtube;CiiZIybr8ow][/video]




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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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[COLOR="#003366"][SIZE=5]Gold medalist Kathleen Baker's post-Rio life includes White House visit, school work[/SIZE][/COLOR]




http://www.journalnow.com/journal_west/news/kathleen-baker-s-post-rio-life-includes-white-house-visit/article_f32611de-ba73-55a6-8592-97fc987f3186.html


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Published on [U]Nov 21, 2016[/U]

[video=youtube;O7GxfuX5rd4][/video]


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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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[COLOR="#336699"][SIZE=5]Kathleen Baker: Gain from the Pain of Crohn's Disease[/SIZE]



11/11/2016
By Mike Watkins//Contributor[/COLOR]

Kathleen Baker has come a long way since she experienced her first stomach pains as a 12 year old.

Accompanied by a low-grade fever and noticeable weight loss, initially the vomiting and fatigue she experienced was thought to be flu or possibly mononucleosis. But when the problems persisted over the course of several months, it was clear neither was the problem.

This was bigger.

This wasn’t going away.

“It was very scary for me for several months because I didn’t know what was happening or what was causing me to feel the way I did,” she said. “We did a bunch of tests, ruled out what it wasn’t and then narrowed it down to the problem.”

What Baker has is Crohn’s Disease, a chronic inflammation of her digestive tract that can result in ulcers lining her esophagus all the way down to her stomach.

Once she was diagnosed, she said it was a relief to know what made her lose 10 percent of her body weight, sleep for 15 hours at a time and kept her out of the pool for long stretches.

Now that she has the disease under control with medication, diet and determination, Baker is flourishing in and out of the water – but it’s been in the water where she’s enjoying the most success.

This summer, she made good on several years of promise that included Pan Pacific Championships (2014) and World Championships (2015) to earn a spot on her first Olympic team at Olympic Trials in Omaha.

But it was in Rio that she enjoyed her international breakthrough by winning silver in the 100 back and added gold as a member of the 400 medley relay. A year earlier at Worlds, she made the event final but didn’t medal.

For Baker, the meet proved a dream come true – especially after succumbing to the enormity and pageantry of Trials four years ago and not making any finals or the Olympic team.

“Four years ago, I was at Trials mostly to gain experience and learn about the process,” she said. “After my last semifinal, I was like ‘Hey, let’s go get some ice cream.’ This summer, I felt like I had a chance to make the team, so my focus was much sharper. I would have been disappointed if I hadn’t made the team.”

Baker said she was “hyper focused” on the 100 backstroke at Trials as her best event, and because she made a lot of sacrifices over the past few years to get there, she worked particularly hard to make sure she took each step toward making the team in stride.

And even though she didn’t win the event at Trials – she finished second to Trials champion Olivia Smoliga – Baker said she knew having the pressure of making the team behind her would allow her to train well and focus on medaling in Rio.

Not bad for the young lady who followed older sister, Rachel, to swim practice as a 5-year-old.

“There’s always pressure to do well when you wear the red, white and blue in competition,” she said. “So I wanted to swim and continue the legacy for the United State in Rio.”

Baker came up through the ranks and experienced her first big-meet success at the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships – winning silver medals in the 100 and 200 backstrokes and bronze as a member of the 400m medley and mixed 400m medley relays.

Her performance later that year at 2013 Phillips 66 National Championships earned her the opportunity to compete for the United States at the 2013 Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool. She held her own, finishing third in the 200 back with top 7 finishes in the 100 fly, 100 back and 200 individual medley.

She said that experience – her first senior-level international meet – was a great learning experience for her and has stayed with her.

Baker said each time she takes to the water – whether with her U.S. teammates or against the best swimmers in the world – she knows the experience will make her a better competitor and swimmer.

Because stress can accelerate her Crohn’s Disease symptoms, Baker said she takes great care to remain calm and keep things in perspective in the pool as well as in the classroom.

In Rio, she was able to channel any stress she may have felt into feelings of excitement and expectation, and it paid off.

With 2012 Olympic champion and U.S. teammate Missy Franklin struggling as of late, Baker said she didn’t feel any extra pressure to perform at the Olympics.

If anything, with Franklin on the team (competing in the 200 freestyle and as a member of the 800 freestyle relay), Baker said she took comfort in having her friend and competitor with her for guidance and support.

“I really just wanted to swim well and represent my country by winning a medal,” Baker said. “It was comforting in the ready room before the final looking over and seeing Olivia there with me. The race went well, and it made me excited for what was still to come.”

A few days after her individual event, Baker had “the honor” of swimming in her first senior international relay final as a member of the 400 medley relay team.

She said getting the opportunity to swim – especially in the evening final – was one of the most special moments of the Olympics and her life.

“I was able to compete with my friends and teammates, and that was almost secondary to winning the gold medal,” said Baker, who was homeschooled before starting her freshman year at the University of California-Berkeley last year.

“There really is nothing like walking out on deck, hand-in-hand with your U.S. teammates and hearing your names called together. And then winning just made everything even more special.”

Back at Cal-Berkeley for her sophomore season, Baker said her success this summer has given her tremendous confidence in the pool and classroom.

She’s focused on her future collegiate season as well as looking forward to what’s to come next year in international competition.

“I’m focused on continuing to grow as a person and having the confidence will help me accomplish that,” she said. “I also want to continue to talk to people and groups about my Crohn’s Disease because I don’t think many people understand how debilitating it can be if left untreated.

“I could never have trained and competed at the level I have the past few years if I hadn’t been properly diagnosed and treated. Crohn’s is a disease a lot of people have heard of but don’t understand. I want to change that in every way I can.”


http://www.usaswimming.org/ViewNewsArticle.aspx?TabId=0&itemid=16103&mid=14491


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[COLOR="#008080"][SIZE=5]To Those Who Felt Sad After Kathleen Baker Won an Olympic Medal With Crohn's Disease[/SIZE][/COLOR]




https://themighty.com/2016/08/response-to-kathleen-baker-winning-medal-by-woman-with-crohns-disease/


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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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CCFA tweeted on [U]7 Dec 2016[/U]

Reminder: Twitter chat with Olympic gold medalist @KathleenBaker2 TODAY from 2-3pm EST!




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CCFA:
[INDENT]Welcome to our Twitter chat with @KathleenBaker2!
.@KathleenBaker2 was diagnosed with #Crohns disease six years ago, shortly before her 13th birthday.
Now 19, @KathleenBaker2 represented the U.S. as part of the @USASwimming team at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Over the next hour, @KathleenBaker2 will answer Q a/b having #Crohns & being an Olympian.[/INDENT]

@KathleenBaker2:
[INDENT]So happy to be apart of today's twitter chat with @CCFA and be a part of awareness week! #IBDvisible
The views shared today are mine and do not represent CCFA's official position. Every patient will experience IBD differently[/INDENT]


[COLOR="#696969"]Q1: When did you first realize you were sick? What were you experiencing and for how long?[/COLOR]
A1: I started losing a ton of weight when I was 12 and having extreme fatigue and running a fever for months

[COLOR="#696969"]Q2: what was it like being diagnosed so young? Did your sympoms affect your training before you knew what it was?[/COLOR]
A2: It was scary to be diagnosed young & read online a/b surgeries & how sick people can get. Swimming slow/exhaustion was one of the first signs which made it so obvious that something was wrong with me.

[COLOR="#696969"]Q3: What did you first think when you were told you had #Crohns?[/COLOR]
A3: I thought my life was over when being diagnosed with Crohn's and that my swimming would never be the same

[COLOR="#696969"]Q4: How did you overcome the fear/doubt that came with your IBD diagnosis?[/COLOR]
A4: I didn't want to let Crohn's define me as person and I have great parents/doctors who have the same goals

[COLOR="#696969"]Q5: Were you always athletic as a kid? How was your activity level impacted by #IBD?[/COLOR]
A5: I never stopped moving as a kid and played all sports, Crohn's has taken a toll on my activity level now

[COLOR="#696969"]Q6: Once you were diagnosed, how long was it before you really felt like "yourself" again?[/COLOR]
A6: To be honest never, but it took a year and a half before most of my symptoms got under control

[COLOR="#696969"]Q7: @KathleenBaker2, we bet you traveled a lot for swimming competitions, even prior to Rio. Any tips for IBDers on the go?[/COLOR]
A7: Always travel with every medication even if you don't think you will need them

[COLOR="#696969"]Q8: What is the hardest #IBD symptom to cope with as a swimmer? How do you push through when you aren't feeling well?[/COLOR]
A8: Fatigue and pain, people can't see these which makes it harder to explain

[COLOR="#696969"]Q9: What advice do you have for my 12 year old who is a swimmer diagnosed with Crohns? @KathleenBaker2 You inspired her to start swimming again.[/COLOR]
A9: Find something you love & don't let a disease define you or alter your dreams & aspirations

[COLOR="#696969"]Q10: How do you stay healthy away from home?[/COLOR]
A10: I eat bland foods while traveling/competing and have a plan in case of a flare

[COLOR="#696969"]Q11: @KathleenBaker2 being an Olympic athlete were you ever worried about sharing your story in the public domain?[/COLOR]
A11: Yes, but I knew I could help others by sharing my experience and story

[COLOR="#696969"]Q12: You medaled twice this summer at the Olympics congratulations! How did that feel as a patient with a #chronicillness?[/COLOR]
A12: Medaling was a dream come true. To accomplish that w/a chronic illness & inspire others meant even more

[COLOR="#696969"]Q13: this is your first #IBDAwarenessWeek since winning gold in the Olympics. How has your involvement changed?[/COLOR]
A13: I waited to share my story until after I made the team, now I can have a large role in bringing awareness

[COLOR="#696969"]Q14: How have your teammates, both in college and on the US Olympic team, responded to you having #Crohns?[/COLOR]
A14: In most instances really good, I struggle with the same issues that all people with invisible illnesses struggle with

[COLOR="#696969"]Q15: I cried when I crossed the finish line of my 1st half Ironman. What emotions did you have receiving an Olympic medal?[/COLOR]
A15: Relief and built of emotions since I was 12, wondering if I could accomplish something so large with Crohn's

[COLOR="#696969"]Q16: does the way you manage your disease change while training vs off season?[/COLOR]
A16: We don't have an off season, I always try to keep my symptoms the best under control and get lots of sleep

[COLOR="#696969"]Q17: What advice do you have for patients living with #IBD? What's the best piece of advice you've received? [/COLOR]
A17: Work hard to find doctors who will find a treatment protocol that will work for you individually

[COLOR="#696969"]Q18: What's next for you now that the Olympics are over?[/COLOR]
A18: School, NCAA Championships in March @CalWSwim, then World Championship Trials in June!


@KathleenBaker2:
[INDENT]Thank you to everyone who participated in todays chat! I enjoyed answering all the questions! #IBDvisible @CCFA[/INDENT]


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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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Amy Bilquist: Gain From Pain



12/16/2016
By Mike Watkins//Contributor

The months leading up to Olympic Trials this summer were anything but hospitable to Amy Bilquist.

The then-freshman at the University of California-Berkeley suffered through chronic, debilitating stomach pains from the time before NCAAs in February through May.

"The pain was excruciating at times, so bad that I often had to stop doing whatever I was doing to focus on breathing and managing it," she said. "I tried so many different things to find out what the problem was, but it seemed like nothing worked.

"We finally found something that worked, but there was a period when doctors told my parents and I that it could be life-threatening possibly a tumor. That was really scary for all of us."

The ailment was eventually attributed to a suspected bacterial infection (although that was never confirmed according to Bilquist) in her stomach lining, and she was prescribed medication to control it.

By the time she arrived in Omaha in June for Trials, she was feeling back to normal but suspected her illness, which sometimes was so painful she lurched awake at night and often kept her out of the pool, may have limited her preparation and left her short of the competitive edge she needed to compete against the best swimmers in the United States.

But once she took to the water, Bilquist quickly found her rhythm her groove and swam to a third-place finish in the 100 backstroke, just missing making the team.

After all she had endured, she felt little regret or disappointment.

While bittersweet to come so close to tasting her Olympic dream, she came to the realization that things largely went as they were meant to.

"When (Cal Coach) Teri (McKeever) and I talked about it after the meet, we decided it was a good outcome for me at this stage of my swimming career," she said. "Coming so close gave me a taste, and now I know I want more in the sport. It has definitely given me the desire to want to accomplish more."

Bilquist said her Trials experience has not only given her more confidence heading into her sophomore year this season, but it also taught her more about herself.

It energized her to not only want to be a better athlete but a better student and she's become more aware of what it will take to make her better at both.

"I'm learning to become a good coach for myself, and that's something I didn't even know existed a year ago," said Bilquist, who calls Carmel, Ind., home, and finished fourth in the 100 and fifth in the 200 back at NCAAs earlier this year despite her stomach pain.

"When I was training in Carmel, we spent a good bit of time studying race footage of other swimmers, but I don't feel like we looked at how Amy could swim faster. Now, it's something I look at after every meet."

Stomach pain wasn't the only physical ailment that Bilquist battled over the past couple of years.

The summer before last, she lost time in the water due to stress fractures two in her left leg, one in her right caused from normal wear and tear on her body. Pushing off the walls during training and meets didn't help.

Eventually, she was told not to swim at all, but eventually she returned to the water but was instructed not to push off the walls so the fractures could heal. Eventually, the scar tissue thinned and the fractures healed.

At 6-foot-3, Bilquist suspects her fractures originated from her early career as a volleyball player, an outside hitter required to jump and leap repeatedly during practice and matches. She quit volleyball before her junior year of high school to focus on swimming.

Now, with all of those problems behind her, Bilquist said she's been able to focus on training and the entire experience has strengthened her love for swimming.

"I've always loved swimming, but when you feel that something you love is being taken away from you or could be taken away from you, you really start to love and appreciate it even more, in a way you didn't know you could," said Bilquist, who was born in Arizona and took to the water by the age of 1. She was competing by the age of 4.

"I wake up every day wanting to be in the water now. I'm working toward achieving something for myself that I didn't even know I wanted. Now I know exactly what I want in the sport, and I know how to get there to get it."

What she wants is to have a great sophomore NCAA season, and then take the next step next summer at the Phillips 66 USA Swimming National Championships of making the World Championship team.

"This has definitely been a process, but I appreciate now why it happened, although not how it happened," said Bilquist, a media studies major at Cal. "It's given me new perspective, and taught me to better appreciate all that swimming means to me."


http://www.usaswimming.org/ViewNewsArticle.aspx?TabId=0&itemid=16189&mid=14491


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tedbear
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UrsusArctosCalifornicus;842779273 said:

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[COLOR="#336699"][SIZE=5]Amy Bilquist: Gain From Pain[/SIZE]



12/16/2016
By Mike Watkins//Contributor[/COLOR]

The months leading up to Olympic Trials this summer were anything but hospitable to Amy Bilquist.

The then-freshman at the University of California-Berkeley suffered through chronic, debilitating stomach pains from the time before NCAAs in February through May.

"The pain was excruciating at times, so bad that I often had to stop doing whatever I was doing to focus on breathing and managing it," she said. "I tried so many different things to find out what the problem was, but it seemed like nothing worked.

"We finally found something that worked, but there was a period when doctors told my parents and I that it could be life-threatening possibly a tumor. That was really scary for all of us."

The ailment was eventually attributed to a suspected bacterial infection (although that was never confirmed according to Bilquist) in her stomach lining, and she was prescribed medication to control it.

By the time she arrived in Omaha in June for Trials, she was feeling back to normal but suspected her illness, which sometimes was so painful she lurched awake at night and often kept her out of the pool, may have limited her preparation and left her short of the competitive edge she needed to compete against the best swimmers in the United States.

But once she took to the water, Bilquist quickly found her rhythm her groove and swam to a third-place finish in the 100 backstroke, just missing making the team.

After all she had endured, she felt little regret or disappointment.

While bittersweet to come so close to tasting her Olympic dream, she came to the realization that things largely went as they were meant to.

"When (Cal Coach) Teri (McKeever) and I talked about it after the meet, we decided it was a good outcome for me at this stage of my swimming career," she said. "Coming so close gave me a taste, and now I know I want more in the sport. It has definitely given me the desire to want to accomplish more."

Bilquist said her Trials experience has not only given her more confidence heading into her sophomore year this season, but it also taught her more about herself.

It energized her to not only want to be a better athlete but a better student and she's become more aware of what it will take to make her better at both.

"I'm learning to become a good coach for myself, and that's something I didn't even know existed a year ago," said Bilquist, who calls Carmel, Ind., home, and finished fourth in the 100 and fifth in the 200 back at NCAAs earlier this year despite her stomach pain.

"When I was training in Carmel, we spent a good bit of time studying race footage of other swimmers, but I don't feel like we looked at how Amy could swim faster. Now, it's something I look at after every meet."

Stomach pain wasn't the only physical ailment that Bilquist battled over the past couple of years.

The summer before last, she lost time in the water due to stress fractures two in her left leg, one in her right caused from normal wear and tear on her body. Pushing off the walls during training and meets didn't help.

Eventually, she was told not to swim at all, but eventually she returned to the water but was instructed not to push off the walls so the fractures could heal. Eventually, the scar tissue thinned and the fractures healed.

At 6-foot-3, Bilquist suspects her fractures originated from her early career as a volleyball player, an outside hitter required to jump and leap repeatedly during practice and matches. She quit volleyball before her junior year of high school to focus on swimming.

Now, with all of those problems behind her, Bilquist said she's been able to focus on training and the entire experience has strengthened her love for swimming.

"I've always loved swimming, but when you feel that something you love is being taken away from you or could be taken away from you, you really start to love and appreciate it even more, in a way you didn't know you could," said Bilquist, who was born in Arizona and took to the water by the age of 1. She was competing by the age of 4.

"I wake up every day wanting to be in the water now. I'm working toward achieving something for myself that I didn't even know I wanted. Now I know exactly what I want in the sport, and I know how to get there to get it."

What she wants is to have a great sophomore NCAA season, and then take the next step next summer at the Phillips 66 USA Swimming National Championships of making the World Championship team.

"This has definitely been a process, but I appreciate now why it happened, although not how it happened," said Bilquist, a media studies major at Cal. "It's given me new perspective, and taught me to better appreciate all that swimming means to me."



[INDENT]http://www.usaswimming.org/ViewNewsArticle.aspx?TabId=0&itemid=16189&mid=14491[/INDENT]


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❤️️Amy! #myfavoritebear
UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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Kathleen Baker College Swim Update





https://swimswam.com/kathleen-baker-college-swim-update-gmm-presented-by-swimoutlet-com/





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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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http://instagr.am/p/BPFcxjdFQyu


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23 January 2017, 07:00am

Sophomore Golden Bears Bilquist, Baker and McLaughlin Hitting Their Stride

Photo Courtesy: Matt Rubel


By David Rieder.

In the fall of 2015, a trio of highly-touted 18-year-olds arrived in Berkeley, Calif., with plenty already accomplished and bright futures in swimming ahead of them. But in March, only two of them were on deck at the women's NCAA championships in Atlanta.

One month before they got to school, Kathleen Baker had swum in the World Championship final in the 100 back. Katie McLaughlin had done the same in the 200 fly, and later that same night she had provided a key leg on a World title-winning 800 free relay. Amy Bilquist had dealt with injuries that summer but had won two golds at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in 2014.

But at NCAAs, where Baker finished second in the 200 IM and Bilquist made the final in both backstroke events, McLaughlin was absent.

After suffering a neck injury during the Golden Bears' training trip in Hawaii, McLaughlin's freshman season was derailed. She was out of the water for six weeks and hardly trained before competing in a limited schedule of events at the Pac-12 championships. She did not swim nearly fast enough to qualify for NCAAs.

"It was pretty hard to watch, not being able to be there, but it happens, and there's nothing I could do," McLaughlin said in May.

But through the challenging recovery phase, McLaughlin had her teammates there for supportand to laugh with her.

When the 2016 spring semester began, McLaughlin showed up on campus in her neck brace, which she said "wasn't the most flattering thing on Earth." She and Bilquist had a class together that semester, and Bilquist was watching on day one as McLaughlin introduced herself to a room full of stunned classmates staring at the brace.

"I'm just trying to not laugh," Bilquist said. "So bad, but she treated it like it was funny. We were able to joke about it early on, which was nice. I think Katie's just such a strong person. Who is in a neck brace and is laughing about it three days after they have it on?"

But after her disappointing meet at Pac-12s, McLaughlin realized that she needed to put more attention into physical therapy, so she left Berkeley and headed home to Southern California. And then when the semester ended, Baker was gone, too, as she went back to Charlotte to swim with SwimMAC's Team Elite for her final preparations for Olympic Trials.

She and Bilquist would be reunited under the most intense of circumstances: in the 100 back final at Olympic Trials. It was the best shot for both to make their first Olympic team.

Baker went out fast, flipping first at the halfway point, and she hung on to finish second in 59.29. Bilquist closed quickly but finished just behind in 59.37, eight one-hundreths behind Baker.

Third place, the most painful finish in the sport.

But as tough as the result was to digest, it did not take long for Bilquist to be overjoyed for her good friend, who went on to capture the Olympic silver medal in the event.

"I would say it's tougher just getting third than whoever you get third to," Bilquist said. "Kathleen works her butt off, and I see her train day in and day out, so I couldn't be more happy or proud of her. She went on to kick some serious butt in Rio. I was so proud of her. It's hard getting third, but I'm proud of who I got third to."

Down below the arena, McLaughlin had just secured her spot in the final of the 200 free and was giddy while waiting outside the mixed zone to embrace Baker. But Baker's success would be highlight of the meet for McLaughlinover the next two days, she finished eighth in the 200 free and sixth in the 200 fly.

After missing so much time in training, McLaughlin knew she was facing an uphill battle to make the Olympic team, but that did not make her results any less agonizing.

"It was definitely a challenge, but now that we're pretty far out of it, I'm taking it as motivation," she said. "I don't want to let that happen again."

So far, so good. McLaughlin has joined Bilquist and Baker as key contributors in the Bears' impressive start, which 5-1 dual meet record and a team victory at the Georgia Fall Invitational. Outside of the pool, the three live in a house together in Berkeley, and Bilquist called the class of five sophomore swimmers "closer this year than ever."

"We kind of make fun of each other a little bitin a good way," McLaughlin said. "We always yell at Jenna [Campbell], one of our other [sophomore] teammates. Just cause."

In the Bears' dual meet Saturday against Arizona State, Bilquist picked up wins in the 100 and 200 free, Baker won both backstroke events, and McLaughlin finished first in the 200 fly and 500 free.

Yes, the 500 free.

"It's different, but it's okay. Someone's gotta do it!" McLaughlin said. "We have so many people that can do 100 fly, 200 free, everything else. If I have to do the 500, it's okay. Literally, someone's gotta do it."

"And someone's gotta count for you!" Bilquist chimed in after handling those duties against ASU.

The Bears still have home meets against USC and Bay Area rival Stanford before heading to the Pac-12 championships and then the NCAA championships. To improve on last year's third-place finish when they get to Indianapolis in March, they will need big performances from all three sophomores.

Even though Baker and Bilquist were at the NCAA meet last year, neither performed up to their standards. Baker missed the championship finals in both backstroke events, and Bilquist swam considerably slower than she had at Pac-12s.

Like McLaughlin, both Baker and Bilquist had their health issues along the way. Baker revealed in July that she has battled Crohn's Disease for years, and Bilquist was also sick for much of the spring, which she thinks took away her mental edge going into NCAAs. She won't let that happen again.

"This year, I want to go into NCAAs with a confidence that whatever's going to happen is going to happen, and I'm going to try my best, and I'm going to do my best for the team," Bilquist said. "I don't want to negatively influence the team in any way, so no matter how I swim I'm going to try to be a positive figure."

As for McLaughlin, she thinks that missing last year will make this experience even more special.

"Going into last year, I figured, 'Oh, making NCAAs won't be too much of a problem,'" she said. "You have to earn your spot there, and I think it's really going to be a good experience that I can enjoy my teammates and have fun with it rather than be like, 'I have to do this. I have to do that. This is what I did last year.' I think it's kind of a blessing in a way that I have no expectations going in."

"I think it added perspective for Katie and our class in general," Bilquist said. "It was weirdKathleen and I being there and Katie not being therethat it really makes us not take for granted any meets. It's going to be a different vibe this year. It's going to be a lot of positive energy."

Year one at Cal was not without its bumps for the three sophomores, but through adversity they gained plentyas swimmers, as teammates and as friends. And because of all that, the Golden Bears will be better off in year two.


http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/sophomore-golden-bears-bilquist-baker-and-mclaughlin-hitting-their-stride/


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tedbear
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Great interview! You can tell these women are super close. Too bad Kathleen wasn't in the interview.
UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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tedbear;842798608 said:

Great interview! You can tell these women are super close. Too bad Kathleen wasn't in the interview.

David Rieder did a smashing job there with his write-up & interview, well written and well done! :beer: Mind you, the dodgy audio on that youtube video could have done with some appropriate wind noise reduction via the employment of a windscreen on the interview mic, or proper selection of microphone type lol

Actually rather relieved that it was SW who did this article & interview, as the usual Teri/Bears hater crowd on SwimSwam would have had a field day with their trolling snark in the comments section otherwise...


OT 2016 - 100m Back Finals (Post-Race Media Interview Video)


OT 2016 - 100m Back Finals (Race Video):



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UrsusArctosCalifornicus said:

"Down below the arena, McLaughlin had just secured her spot in the final of the 200 free and was giddy while waiting outside the mixed zone to embrace Baker."

Love love watching all the happy emotions here as Katie patiently waited to wrap her arms tightly round bff Kathleen at the beginning of this video:

UrsusArctosCalifornicus;842706860 said:

Post-race Emotions of 2016 Olympic Trials (Video)



Not to mention the shared tears of pure joy on both Kathleen & Head Coach Marsh immediately following that historic Olympic Silver medal finish @ Rio, achieved in the face of such daunting challenges as Baker's (continuing) battle with her Crohn's:

UrsusArctosCalifornicus said:


POST-RACE VIDEO: https://twitter.com/i/videos/tweet/762837117726621696


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UrsusArctosCalifornicus said:

"After suffering a neck injury during the Golden Bears’ training trip in Hawaii, McLaughlin’s freshman season was derailed.

"I'm just trying to not laugh," Bilquist said. "So bad, but she treated it like it was funny. We were able to joke about it early on, which was nice. I think Katie's just such a strong person. Who is in a neck brace and is laughing about it three days after they have it on?"


Glimpses below of Katie's infamous neck brace making rare appearances during the Hawaii training trip last year :p
UrsusArctosCalifornicus said:

btw, guess I wasn't too observant during their Hawaii trip last year, otherwise I'd have spotted Katie's neck brace sneakily hiding behind her yummy & colourful shaved ice here:

http://instagr.am/p/BAa_FAlFWx6

UrsusArctosCalifornicus said:

200 fly finals: Adams & Flickinger get to go to Rio.

Katie (6th) swam amazingly considering all that she had gone thru since her neck injury, what a trooper!!! :beer:
Under normal circumstances she would have been the favourite for the 2nd spot...

---

Thleen: So proud of my #1 who I've done everything with this year. I love you more than life. Thanks for being my Juan ❤️��



KT: @KathleenBaker2 life would literally be a dead rat without you. shoutout to the hike on day 2 with a broken neck #lol ����

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Billy: My Juan and only �� you are the strongest kid in the game and you inspire me everyday. Couldn't do life without you

KT: @amybilquist thank you little bill I love you���� you're the Juan for me :')


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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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Dana: Great article on our training philosophy at CAL and my amazing teammate and training partner @amybilquist



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No Limits

Amy Bilquist Finds Success By Learning To Stretch Her Boundaries

1/26/2017 11:2 AM | By: Herb Benenson



Amy Bilquist set personal bests in both backstroke events at the U.S. Olympic Trials over the summer.


To compete for Teri McKeever often means learning how to live outside of your comfort zone.

That can range from understanding how to handle unpredictable waves and currents in ocean workouts or simply swimming in unfamiliar events to build strength where there could be weakness.

The formula has clearly worked, as evidenced by four NCAA team titles and dozens conference, national and Olympic awards for Cal swimmers over the years.

Amy Bilquist discovered McKeever's philosophy first-hand early in her freshman year as a Golden Bear. Entering school in the fall of 2015, she fancied herself a sprint freestyler primarily, with a little 100 backstroke tossed in for good measure.

So when Cal hosted San Jose State in the second home meet of her college career, where did Bilquist see herself entered? In the 200-yard individual medley, of course.

Bilquist thought to herself, "I'm a sprinter. I don't want to do this."

But she did and finished second to teammate Elizabeth Pelton, a one-time NCAA runner-up in the event. Despite the protest, Bilquist began to take the first steps to understanding McKeever's methodology.

"Teri has always told me to stop limiting myself and not put boundaries on what I can do," Bilquist said. "I still love sprint freestyle, but I have a lot of confidence in my backstroke."

McKeever, now in her 25th season leading the Cal program, has seen and heard all the reservations swimmers have expressed to stretch beyond their means. Especially for freshmen who are getting to know a new coach, reluctance can be quite normal, and McKeever was not surprised at all by Bilquist's reaction.

"There was definitely some pushback and adjustment on both of our parts, but the thing I'm impressed with is she was willing to work through that." McKeever said. "The year was really about expanding her horizons. She was willing to work through the relationships, the differences, the good times, the times that were a struggle, and find a place to keep being successful."

Perhaps nowhere was that more evident than at the U.S. Olympic Trials last summer in Omaha, Neb. Bilquist focused on two events the 100- and 200-meter back with no freestyle in sight. In both cases, she far exceeded her seeded entry time and set personal bests each time she was in the water.

In the 100 back, Bilquist broke one minute for the first time with the second-fastest time of the opening heats. She came down another 0.2 seconds in the semifinals and posted a 59.37 in the final.

Though the result put her ninth all-time among U.S. swimmers in the event and actually would have won Olympic gold as recently as 2004, Bilquist finished an agonizing third, a mere 0.08 seconds behind Cal teammate Kathleen Baker, who went on to claim the silver medal in Rio.

A few days later in the 200 back, Bilquist lowered her time a remarkable four seconds - from a 2:12.56 entry time to 2:08.30 in the final. But once again, she was just outside the top two needed for a spot on the Olympic team, placing fourth.

"It's definitely a big pill to swallow when you touch the wall third and fourth and realize you have to wait another four years before you get an opportunity to compete for it again," Bilquist said of her quest to earn an Olympic berth. "I think that's been the most challenging thing for me, knowing that I have to wait so long."

Bilquist and McKeever have already put together a plan to help her reach her coveted goal. Bilquist calls them "stepping stones," little targets to keep her challenged and motivated along the way.

"I think that if I just had the end game in four years, I'd get a little lost," Bilquist said. "It's OK if I miss some of those stepping stones I might not hit them all but I have to have confidence that in four years, it will all come together."

Instead of wallowing in disappointment, Bilquist has come back to this season as motivated as ever.

"We all have setbacks, and I think Amy's learning how to have a setback inspire her rather than derail her," McKeever said. "She's never trained better. There's a very confident, determined and purposeful young lady who comes to practice every day, and my experience has been when an athlete does that consistently, good things happen."

Born in Arizona, Bilquist took up swimming at age 3, and by the time she was 8, she was already swimming up a division, competing against 9- and 10-year-olds. That didn't sit too well initially with some of the parents of other swimmers not because Bilquist, a tall child, was racing with older kids, but because they thought she looked too old and should be in an even older age group.

Once the confusion was cleared up, Bilquist, who now stands 6-foot-3, went out and earned the age group title with the most overall points at the meet.

Not long after, Bilquist moved with her family to Indiana and joined the Carmel Swim Club. She made her first U.S. senior national team at 17 when she qualified for the world short-course championships. With several Golden Bears on the roster, including Natalie Coughlin, Madison Kennedy and soon-to-be Cal teammates Baker and Abbey Weitzeil, Bilquist came home with a pair of relay medals.

A year later, she was in Berkeley, and Bilquist admits that her freshman season at Cal got off to a rocky start. It didn't help that soon after she enrolled her parents moved to California. "It was hard not knowing that I had a home to go back to," she said.

Once the spring semester came round and with her parents settled into their new home, Bilquist began hitting her stride. And when the Pac-12 Championships came about at the end of February, she pulled off what she considers quite a surprise the conference title in the 200 back.

"My 200 back just felt like it clicked," Bilquist recalled. "Teri had always been telling me that you're a 200 backstroker. I just hated that event more than anything coming into Cal. She really worked on me embracing that event and seeing that it can be more of a strength than a fear for me. That was the race when I knew Cal was the right place for me. Teri believed in me to do this event even when I couldn't."

Having fully embraced the 200 back, Bilquist is clearly a believer in McKeever's approach. All it took was convincing her to find strength outside her comfort zone.


http://www.calbears.com/news/2017/1/26/inside-the-lair-no-limits.aspx


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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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tedbear;842798608 said:

Great interview! You can tell these women are super close.

Amy: Favorite spot, favorite person what more can you ask for? #InternationalBringYourDinnerToGrizzlyPeakDay


http://instagr.am/p/BSxNj8olUaa

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Amy: Running for the first time in 4 years & nothing can represent the feeling like a teen angst song! Excited to be getting healthy again #GoBears



VIDEO -> https://twitter.com/i/videos/tweet/852625372378144769


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Striking Gold: Kathleen Baker and the support group that helps her succeed with Crohn's disease




http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/c97df179#/c97df179/1


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BLUESEVENTY SWIM OF THE WEEK: KATIE MCLAUGHLIN EXPANDING HORIZONS

Jared Anderson | May 31st, 2017




Katie McLaughlin is now about a full year out from a devastating neck injury that cost her not only her freshman year at Cal, but also cost her a possible Olympic berth in Rio. But McLaughlin is coming back stronger than ever and with a few new tricks up her sleeve.

McLaughlin is mainly known as a butterflyer. Her lifetime-best of 2:06.95 in the long course 200 fly (set at Worlds in 2015) would have earned her an Olympic spot last summer, beating out second place by six tenths of a second and coming within a tenth of winning U.S. Olympic Trials. Instead, McLaughlin, still coming back from the neck injury and competing with a severely shortened seasonal training base, had to settle for 6th place.

And though she hasn't yet topped that 200 fly time in her return to form, McLaughlin proved at last weekend's Grand Challenge meet in California that she's adding some new weapons to her arsenal as she returns to form: namely, a fast-rising 400 freestyle.

McLaughlin went a lifetime-best 4:13.53 to win that event by a second and a half in Irvine. That's a drop of almost 5 seconds from her previous lifetime-best, set a month ago, and almost 6 seconds from her best time prior to April of this year.

She's shown the same improvements in short course yards, going from 4:51.3 in the 500 yard free to 4:36.04 over the course of her sophomore season at Cal. At the same time, she improved her short course 200 fly from 1:54.1 to 1:52.3.

McLaughlin hasn't yet really gone after a rested long course 200 fly this season. But if her improvements in endurance are any indicator, we might see a version of McLaughlin next month that isn't just back from injury, but even better than she was before it.


https://swimswam.com/blueseventy-swim-week-katie-mclaughlin-expanding-horizons/


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SwimSwam: A year out from 2016's devastating beck injury, @katiemclaughlin19 is back stronger than ever, having dropped 11 seconds in the 400 free over the course of two months to win the event by a second and a half in Irvine. Read more about our @blueseventy Swim of the Week in the bio. #calbears @calwswim

Jack Forde: "Is it neck or back or both"

Amy: "***Most recently she slammed her finger in a car door and lost a nail"


http://instagr.am/p/BU0QoERl4Mq


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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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EXCEPTIONAL WOMAN


After winning a silver and a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics, Kathleen Baker captured National Swimmer of the Year honors the following March.

...

Baker, though, has much more on her mind than the average swimmer and student. On top of the rigor of training, competing and studying, Baker battles the effects of Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that affects some 700,000 Americans. Diagnosed at age 12, Baker must manage her diet and medicines to help mitigate the symptoms of Crohn's.

Baker first publicly spoke about dealing with Crohn's just before the Rio Olympics. Since then, she has become a sought-after resource. Baker took part in a Twitter chat for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America last fall, answering a series of questions that generated nearly 4.5 million impressions. She's also conducted interviews and appeared on magazine covers, all in an effort to be seen as a positive role model and inspiration to others who regularly have to handle the consequences of Crohn's.

"I get a lot through social media, or a friend knows a friend," Baker said of contacts who have reached out to her. "It's something that I'm happy to do because I know that when I went through this process I didn't have someone who I could ask a million questions."

While Baker is interacting on a personal level now, she fully expects to become more active once her collegiate career is over and she has her degree in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in health and illness. Ultimately, her goal is to be a pediatric oncology nurse.

"I've had a lot of nurses who are long-term care nurses in my life, and they've made such a huge impact on me," Baker said. "I really like the relationship side of nursing."

For now, Baker readily admits that there are times when Crohn's flares up and she has to carefully watch her choices and stick to bland foods. She also understands which foods can trigger a reaction, but because the disease affects people differently, sometimes it comes down to trial and error.

"It can be a really hard time," Baker said. "I get connected with people I would never have met if I wouldn't have shared my story. I'm grateful right now that I'm in a really healthy place and it's not putting me at a disadvantage."

To the contrary, Baker is clearly excelling, her results have put her in elite company within the Cal women's swimming & diving program, joining the likes of Natalie Coughlin, Dana Vollmer, Caitlin Leverenz and Missy Franklin who have each earned Olympic medals to go along with National Swimmer of the Year recognition.

"To already have done what she has, Kathleen has every intention of backing that up," McKeever said. "She shows a consistency of performance, not only at the championships meets but also at the dual meets. Having somebody that we can rely on and swim different events puts her in a league with those exceptional women."

Exceptional, indeed.


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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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bearz012 said:




Kathleen Baker battles Crohn's disease while leading Cal swim team


Just reckon this article from the Chronicle that was originally posted by bearz012 in the 2018 Women's NCAAs thread deserves a bit of a mention here...

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Baker has used her Olympic platform to create awareness about Crohn's disease.


Kathleen Baker was terrified when she researched Crohn's disease.

Cause unknown.

Cutting out intestines.

No cure.

"It was like I found every horror story there ever was," Baker said. "That's one of the reasons I wanted to come out: I want there to be a positive story.

"I want people to know that, even with Crohn's, I've been able to accomplish something significant."



Baker leads the Cal swimming and diving team after winning two medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.


Eight years after her diagnosis, Baker has two Olympic medals and is on pace to earn a degree from Cal as she leads the Bears' swimming and diving team into this week's NCAA Championships in Columbus, Ohio.

The 12-person team is expected to finish among the nation's top three for the 10th consecutive year, largely because Baker has beaten back the symptoms of her disease to become dominant in the swimming world.



Kathleen Baker reacts to winning the 100-meter backstroke title at the 2017 NCAA Championships.


"I know we're set up really well and meant to go out there and win every relay," said Baker, who swam the lead leg of the gold-medal-winning 400-meter medley relay team in the Rio Olympics and finished second in the 100-meter backstroke. "The college meets are awesome. They're so team-oriented, and every point matters. It's nice to feel like you're behind every single teammate for every one of their races.

"We always say that the NCAAs are exhausting, because you swim every single one of your teammates' races, too."


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...For the full transcript penned by Rusty Simmons (well worth a read - as we all know by now, a remarkable story about a truly remarkable woman!), please check out the original write-up here:

https://www.sfgate.com/collegesports/article/Kathleen-Baker-battles-Crohn-s-disease-while-12750820.php


UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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http://instagr.am/p/BhnMhlTAknv
UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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Olympic Gold Medalist Kathleen Baker Shares About Swimming with Crohn's Disease




  • A few Cal-related excerpts =>

SW: Despite the difficulties of Crohn's, you've continued to thrive at Cal and break American records as your career has progressed. Do you have to make any modifications in your daily life to allow you to stay healthy and swim fast?

Baker: I mostly swim one practice a day, along with doing some work outside of the water. It's important to work with my coaches, both Teri McKeever at Cal, and David Marsh, the Olympic coach who I grew up swimming with. They know when it's time to back off. I'm not someone who's going to say that I need a little more rest. I'm always wanting to push it and I'm always fine until I'm not. It's usually about catching it before I'm "not okay."




SW: What resources are available for you and other athletes with chronic illnesses at Cal and from USA Swimming?

Baker: I have an amazing trainer at Cal who is on top of everything. She helps me set up my blood work, which I get pretty frequently to check all of my levels for Crohn's disease. It makes it super easy to be on campus and get a blood draw, then walk straight to class. I'm working with the really great doctors at Cal as well. It's very easy to get care; we have a doctor just for our team.




SW: What does it mean to have the opportunity to represent the Crohn's community and prove that an illness does not need to define your life?

Baker: It means the absolute world to me. Just this past weekend, I did a Crohn's and Colitis walk.



I want to raise awareness and be involved more with the Crohn's and Colitis foundation. I also want not only for kids but also for parents to know that it is possible to thrive in the hard times. It's horrible when you're diagnosed or when you're not in remission. It's a really hard time, but know that people do get out of it and do really great things! I think it's great for me to be able to be a role model.


SW: What advice would you give to a swimmer struggling with a chronic illness?

Baker: It's super important to surround yourself with great doctors who won't just think of you as any other patient. Every kid's situation is different, so your doctor really needs to look at the whole you.

It's great having parents and coaches who will never ever doubt your dreams because of a chronic illness. I'm so lucky I've been able to have all of that, and no matter what stage of life I'm in, no one has ever told me I couldn't do something. A lot of it is not only believing in yourself but also surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and support you just the same.




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COLEMAN'S CARPOOL: BILQUIST, MCLAUGHLIN ON BERKELEY LIFESTYLE (VIDEO)

In Coleman's Carpool we get the insider's perspective on your favorite swimmers. SwimSwam Head of Production, Coleman Hodges, invites swimmers to take a ride with him and talk about anythingexcept swimming. Mostly.



California has always had a lore to outsiders. It's the land of opportunity within the land of opportunity, with Hollywood, the music industry, and now the tech boom, you can be anything you want to be in the mystical land of sunny California. But what is living there on a daily basis really like?

While in the Bay Area for the Santa Clara Pro Swim, SwimSwam got in the car with Cal bears Amy Bilquist and Katie McLaughlin, along with Cal post-grad Wyatt Hodges, and got the scoop on what their favorite things in Berkeley are.

Topics covered include favorite restaurants, preferred grocery stores, and best concert seen in the Bay Area. Bilquist and LcLaughlin delve into their best "scooting trip" around Berkeley as well as one of their oddest experiences that you would only encounter in the Bay.


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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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Katie McLaughlin Continues to Learn 'On the Fly'

By Mike Watkins//Contributor | Tuesday, July 24, 2018




Months before her senior year at the University of California-Berkeley and days before the start of Phillips 66 USA Swimming National Championships this week, Katie McLaughlin is still learning.

She's learning to accept she has just one season left with her Bear teammates and she needs to savor every moment; she's learning to believe in herself regardless of what happens in the water; and most importantly, she's learning what she needs to do and not just what she's told to do to be successful in swimming and in life.



Working with a coach the caliber of Teri McKeever has also impacted McLaughlin, citing her mentor's influence in helping her become a mature, responsible adult over the past three seasons.

In January 2016, she incurred a neck injury while diving into the water at the beach hitting the sand hard and jarring her neck.

In the process, she fractured vertebrae in her neck and was out of the pool for several weeks in a neck brace and missed weeks of training and competition although she did return for NCAAs that March.

Needless to say, she went to Olympic Trials less prepared than she normally would be or wanted to be.

"It was the scariest thing because when it happened, I lost feeling and couldn't move my upper body at first," she said. "But the feeling slowly came back, and despite being way from training for more than a month, when I returned to the pool, I was more motivated than ever."

McLaughlin said her time away from the sport she's loved since she started swimming as a child gave her a new perspective that it could have been taken away from her because of an unfortunate accident.

It's all part of her commitment to accepting ownership for her choices good, questionable and otherwise.

"Six weeks in a neck brace gives you a very unique perspective about swimming and life," she said. "When something you love is taken away from you even for a few weeks you really get a new appreciation for it all."

When she did resume training, McLaughlin said she took it easy at first but with the blessings of her doctors and trainers, it wasn't long before she was going full-board.



But she said she'll be happy to just swim her best whether or not that results in a future team.
She owns whatever happens.

"I will honestly be happy if I race my best; I really just want to feel good about my swimming no matter what happens," she said. "I also want to have fun and enjoy the experience, which can be hard to do when you're so focused on making a team.

"I've realized over the past couple of seasons that when we were kids, swimming was about having fun, and it's easy to forget that when it's all about outcomes. For me now, I just want to swim fast but have fun at the same time and the two go hand-in-hand for me. But it took me a little while to learn that."


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UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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Some pretty significant news in the wake of Thleen's World & US Open records @ 2018 US Nationals, with massive implications for Bears @ 2019 NCAAs.

Do wish Kathleen the very best in her new journey in & out of the pool, and brill that she will finish her degree @ Cal whilst swimming professionally!



  • UPDATE => now reported by SS:
KATHLEEN BAKER TO TURN PRO, WILL FORGO FINAL YEAR OF NCAA ELIGIBILITY



World record holder Kathleen Baker announced Thursday via Twitter that she will forgo her final year of NCAA eligibility to become a professional athlete.

She will remain enrolled as a student at UC Berkeley while training.

Baker, who set the World Record in the 100 back at U.S. Nationals last week, cited the opportunity to manage her Crohn's Disease as one of the reasons for her decision.


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Cal Women's Swimming star Kathleen Baker to turn pro

Baker won 4 individual NCAA titles and 2 relay titles in her brilliant collegiate career at Cal.

As a Cal fan, it is selfishly disappointing to hear that Baker will turn pro now rather than after her senior year. Stanford losing Simone Manuel to graduation and Katie Ledecky to turning pro may have allowed another school (like Cal) to be the favorite for the 2019 NCAA national championships, but now it's wide open (probably Stanford being the favorite still).

Nonetheless, by turning pro now, Baker can cash in on several years of advertising income. She will certainly use that money and visibility to further the good cause of helping others with Crohn's disease. We will no doubt see plenty of Kathleen Baker and her million dollar smile in ads and TV for probably the next 1.5 Olympic cycles, if not more; we, Cal fans, will happily be able to claim her and all of her future success as our own.

Best of luck and congratulations to 'Thleen and GO BEARS!


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KATHLEEN BAKER TO TURN PROFESSIONAL

Baker, who plans to remain at Cal to complete her degree requirements, added that being able to better handle the effects of Crohn's disease factored into her decision.

"Kathleen has been an important part of our Cal program these past three years," McKeever said. "She has helped our team to three consecutive top-3 national finishes and has been a part of numerous individual and relay championships at the NCAA and Pac-12 meets. She has also added to Cal's legacy internationally having earned medals representing the United States at the Olympic Games and World Championships.

I'd like to thank Kathleen for what she means to our program and wish her continued success in swimming and her career. She is a role model for those who have Crohn's disease, inspiring others with her outlook and high levels of success.

I'm also pleased to know that Kathleen plans to continue her studies at Cal to complete her degree requirements studying health and illness through her interdisciplinary studies major."


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In other news:

Kathleen Baker Named "Best of July" Team USA Award Finalist



COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. The United States Olympic Committee today announced finalists for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of July, which recognize the outstanding achievements of Team USA athletes from last month.


Female Athlete of the Month

Kathleen Baker (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), Swimming

Set a world record in the 100-meter backstroke on her way to winning three national titles in the 100and 200 backstroke, and 200 individual medley.


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NEWLY-MINTED PRO KATHLEEN BAKER SIGNS WITH SPEEDO USA




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HBear
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Whoa --- big news, https://swimswam.com/kathleen-baker-to-turn-pro-will-forgo-final-year-of-ncaa-eligibility/.
UrsusArctosCalifornicus
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http://instagr.am/p/Bl_HBZDjEkl


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