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

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Happy Birthday Amy!!!
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  • (For the full excerpt, head over to the linked SW article in the heading below)

Six More Tidbits on New World Record-Holder Kathleen Baker

By David Rieder

1. Baker considers her older swimmer, former Washington and Lee swimmer Rachel, "my best friend and biggest support system."

2. Baker possesses enormous self-belief.

When dealing with elite athletes, the cream of the crop, you will often find a trait or two that sets them apart from mortals. For Kathleen Baker, it's self-beliefrefusing to acknowledge that things might not work out in her favor, even if odds are against her being successful.

When Baker was diagnosed with Crohn's as a young teenager, there was no precedent for an athlete overcoming a condition like that to become an Olympic medalist in swimming.

3. Baker knows she can't go overboard in training.

Baker admits that even now, it's difficult for her to tell her coaches, David Marsh at Team Elite and Teri McKeever at Cal, that she doesn't feel right and she can't do something in practice. She explained that she either feels good or she doesn'twithout much grey area in between.

"Luckily, Teri has known me for years, and Coach Marsh known me for so long," she said. "They will say you can see it in my eyes when I'm not doing well. They say, 'How are you doing?' and if I don't answer, then they know it's not a good day. Instead of doing a killer practice, maybe I'll do something aerobic."

4. Baker's racing strategy has evolvedbut she still goes out really fast.

5. Baker is embracing the 100 back-200 IM double at the World Championships.

Baker admits that the timing of the events is not ideal, but she thinks her years in college swimming have prepared her adequately for such a double. And she plans to focus on that back-to-back all year in training.

6. The advice Baker would give to a young swimmer.

"Believing in yourself along the way is something that I've really had to have in my life because without believing in yourself, it's really hard to overcome adversity. It doesn't have to be a chronic illnessit can be a shoulder injury or a broken foot or something that like or just being at a plateau.

"I think it's just important to always have that confidence and belief in yourself that things will end up okay and you'll be able to accomplish your goals with hard work and determination and just being able to enjoy it."
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UrsusArctosCalifornicus said:

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

Mysterious ailment could've cost Amy Bilquist more than just an Olympic spot

tedbear said:

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

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.

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.

Billy - you're truly a model Golden Bear - we will always root for and support you no matter what... Hey, just keep that shiny golden smile rolling on! Go Bears!


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Ugh, I hope she gets to blueshirt. Amy has always been my favorite Golden Bear, and Yasss, she will always be that no matter what happens to the rest of her Cal career! Get better Amy!!!
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  • A few excerpts from Swimming World...great interview w/Bug, def worthwhile reading the whole article!

Katie McLaughlin's Resurgence Fueled by New Perspective

By David Rieder.

Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Ask McLaughlin what she wants to accomplish in her final year as a Cal Bear, and she won't mention times or championships. All that, she has learned, is out of her control.

"I just want to enjoy it, and whatever that means day in and day out, that's what it is. I feel like if I say, 'I want it to be the perfect senior year, and I want everything to go well and everyone to swim fast,' that's just sometimes not how it goes," she said.

"I think just taking every day and the hard practices, and when it's raining and freezing and we're rolling the lane lines, just kind of slow it down and see how lucky I am to have had this experience. I am going to miss it so much, so I don't want to take any of it for granted because it's coming to an end, and I know when it's done, that's going to be hard. I don't really have a goal because I don't want to define it by, 'It was successful, or it wasn't successful.'"

McLaughlin, Kelsi Dahlia and Kendyl Stewart after the 100 fly at U.S. Nationals Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

"Yeah, definitely. Just as a college student and especially at Cal, being surrounded by some of the smartest people in school and also the best athletes, the best swimmers in the country, it just gives you a little bit of perspective. And what I have been through with my injury and stuff, I think that also gave me a lot of perspective, figuring out what's important to me.

"Swimming is very important to me, and being successful obviously is very important, and I'm going to do everything I can to be the most successful I can. But if not, knowing that that doesn't define me It does matter to me, and that's what important to know, that it does matter to me, and I don't have to be a swimmer or do anything specific just because other people want me to.

"That being said, I am on a team, which is very, very important to me, and that helps me also gain perspective. If I want to be better, I'm lifting the people around me, too, and if I see others around me doing better in school and life and as a person in swimming anything, that also can help me. I think it all has given me perspective, looking at the big picture and what I've gained from this sport."

"And Teri got named to be one of the coaches at Pan Pacs. I think that was definitely one of the best things for me because with what I have been through and my experience at Cal, Teri has, through the bad and the worst and the ugly and the hard, been with me every step of the way.

"It was awesome that when I finally broke back through to where I want to be, she got to be there with me because she has worked just as hard as I have to help me get back on my feet, so I think that definitely was one of the coolest things."

"There were definitely some times where it was really hard, and I felt pressure that, if I don't do well, people are going to look bad at Cal or at Teri because I struggled. Looking at the big picture, it doesn't matter what others think. It's really about the people around me who support me. Just taking every day and enjoying what I'm doing and not worrying how that affects the outside world."

"I'm swimming next summer for sure because I made the Worlds team, so I'm going to that. And then I'm going to stay up here at Cal and train through Trials at least. I have another semester of school, so I'll be here training and then kind of just taking it by ear then, so we'll see."
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Great article! Love everything about Katie, and all that she overcome to being such a great Golden Bear.
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