Kathleen Baker Discusses Battle with Crohn’s Disease in New York Times

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick


Editorial Coverage Sponsored By FINIS

In a New York Times article published today, U.S. Olympian Kathleen Baker revealed that she suffers from Crohn’s disease, a chronic gastrointestinal inflammation.

Baker explained to the Times’ Karen Crouse the issues that led to her diagnosis seven years ago and the physical and emotional toll the disease took on her and her family.

Baker found out she had Crohn’s disease after being sent for a colonoscopy after feeling ill and fatigued.

She learned of her diagnosis by accident. Feeling too ill to sit in class, Baker had sought refuge in the office of her father, then the head of the lower school at Forsyth Country Day, where she was a student.

“This is so bad, one of the worst stories ever,” she said. “I was on his email and an email popped up from my pediatrician saying the diagnosis.”

Through it all, Baker kept swimming—and improving—despite battles with her parents and doctors over managing her training workload.

Baker made her first senior National team in 2014 and then qualified for the 100 back final at the World Championships last year. After completing her freshman year at Cal-Berkeley, Baker made the Olympic team with a second-place finish in the 100 back at Olympic Trials.

But even as she embarks on her Olympic journey, she still has to be careful to manage the medical side of things.

Baker’s experience on other international trips has made her adept at filling out the medical forms required by the World Anti-Doping Agency and packing her medical kit, including syringes and extra dosages of her medicine in case of emergency. The super bacteria in the waters off Rio do not worry her; Baker knows from gastrointestinal disorders.

Baker competes in the 100 back in Rio beginning on August 7.


  1. avatar
    Linda Batzer Nitchie

    Carley Nitchie, did we know this already? She is inspirational!!

  2. avatar
    Tricia Anne

    Darcy Vanaman Galnor, thought you’d want to read this.

    • avatar
      Darcy Vanaman Galnor

      I was just getting ready to share the NYT story. My hero. Thanks for thinking of us!

  3. avatar
    Jackie Crowe Carribine

    I will certainly be cheering for her! ?

  4. avatar

    This was a wonderful story in the Times. What an inspirational woman.

  5. avatar
    Catalina Torres Espinoza

    Ana Luisa ??

    • avatar
      Ana Luisa Torres Espinoza

      ??? pobrecita

  6. avatar
    Jason G Tanner

    Ryan Stevens

  7. avatar
    Angela Peterson

    Andrea Ryckeghem

  8. avatar

    Congrats Kathleen!!!
    Super proud of you.
    You and your family need to look up
    Www. Crohnsmapvaccine.com
    Or search crohns map vaccine on Facebook.

    I do believe we will all be cured soon!!!
    So proud of you. You are an inspiration to many!!

  9. avatar
    Trisha Cheney Sauerbrei

    Thank you for being brave and discussing this in the open. With the right support, young kids can be successful while dealing with Crohn’s. But coaches need to want to educate themselves to be supportive, if you don’t have that, it’s an even harder up hill battle !!!! Congrats on winning this battle, congrats on earning a trip to Rio, but more, thank you for being brave !!!

  10. avatar
    Kim Hawker

    Kathleen Baker