Kathleen Baker Announces Pro Career; Will Forgo Last Year Of College Swimming

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

A week removed from her first career long course world recordKathleen Baker announced on her social media accounts that she would forgo her last year of eligibility at Cal Berkeley and start a pro career.

Baker won three national titles last week in Irvine in the 200 back, 100 back and 200 IM and is quickly becoming one of the most popular swimmers on the United States national team behind the likes of her Bay Area rivals Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel.

Baker swam at Cal Berkeley where she won four individual NCAA titles in her career, concluding her NCAA career with an American Record in the 200 back in 2018. Baker is also the second fastest performer ever in the 200 IM SCY and third fastest in the 100 back SCY.

Baker is joining a pretty solid professional “class” of swimmers as Ledecky, Manuel and Caeleb Dressel all entered the professional ranks in the summer of 2018.

Baker said she will be finishing her career at Cal but did not hint at if she would stay there to train or go down to San Diego to train at Team Elite.

With Baker’s new pro career starting, she will become one of the most marketable swimmers in the sport moving forward to Tokyo 2020. By this time next year, all of the United States’ best swimmers: Ledecky, Manuel, Baker, Leah Smith and Lilly King will be professional, just in time for the 12 month lead-up to the Olympic Games.

Baker won a silver medal in Rio in the 100 back and also won silver in the 100 back and bronze in the 200 back at the World Championships in 2017. Baker will have her hands full with Canada’s Kylie Masse and Taylor Ruck as well as Australia’s Emily Seebohm and Kaylee McKeown at the Pan Pacific Championships in a week. Baker will certainly be a favorite next week in both backstroke events, and could help challenge the world record in the 4×100 medley relay.

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tim Collins
4 years ago

Kind of feel sorry for her, but hope it works out.