North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame: Kathleen Baker Headlines Stellar Class

Kathleen Baker Photo Courtesy: Harry How

The class of 2024 includes a World and Olympic Champion, two North Carolina State athletes one of whom later also excelled as a Masters swimmer, a highly-decorated coach, and a long-standing meet director and official. “I am excited about this class,” said Ceil Blackwell, Co-Chair of the North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame. “Our honorees reflect a wide range of significant aquatic achievements including swimming, Masters swimming, water polo and major service to aquatic sports in coaching, officiating, and administrating.”

Erika Braun, the other committee Co-Chair, had this to say, “Going through the selection process this year reinforced for me the strength of the aquatic community in North Carolina. Through the tough times of the pandemic our aquatic family has remained resilient and has either achieved or contributed at a very high level. Our North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame recognizes these achievements and contributions, and I cannot wait until our Banquet and Induction Ceremony this spring.”

The North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2024 will be inducted on Saturday, March 2 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Raleigh Durham Research Triangle located at 201 Harrison Oaks Boulevard, Cary, NC. There will be a cocktail reception beginning at 6:30pm followed by dinner and inductions starting at 7:30pm.

Three-time Olympic gold medalist, Rowdy Gaines will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the Induction Ceremony. Rowdy, known as “The Voice of Swimming,” is a member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame, and is now a swimming analyst for the NBC television network. Originally from Lake Mary, Florida, Rowdy attended Auburn University where he was an eight-time NCAA Swimming Champion and a 22-time NCAA All-American. A former Swimming World Magazine World Swimmer of the Year, Rowdy is a highly-renowned motivational speaker who will help make this year’s NCSHOF Induction truly special for the 2024 Inductees, their guests, and fans.

Tables of 10 can be purchased for $2,000, which includes sponsorship of the event, and half tables which also include sponsorship can be purchased for $1,000. Individual tickets are $100 each. Tables, half tables and individual tickets can be purchased on the home page of the NC Swimming Hall of Fame website at

North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2024 honoree bios are as follows:


Kathleen Baker, a native of Winston Salem, North Carolina, moved to Charlotte at age 14 to train with Coach David Marsh, a 2016 NC Swimming Hall of Fame Honoree, and his club, SwimMAC. Kathleen excelled under Marsh and competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2012 in Omaha where she placed 13th in the Women’s 200-meter Backstroke, 15th in the 100-meter Backstroke, and 23rd in the 200-meter Individual Medley. The next year, at the 2013 FINA World Aquatic Championships in Barcelona, Kathleen won silver in the Women’s 100- and 200-meter Backstrokes, as well as bronze medals in both the Mixed 4×100-meter Medley Relay and Women’s 4×100-meter Medley Relay. In 2014, Kathleen won silver in the Women’s 200-meter Freestyle Relay and finished sixth in the 100-meter Backstroke at the FINA World Short Course Championships in Doha, Qatar. Kathleen started her collegiate swimming career in 2015 at the University of California, Berkeley. While there, Kathleen qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio where she won a silver medal in the Women’s 100-meter Backstroke and gold in the Women’s 4×100-meter Medley Relay. At the 2017 NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships, she finished first in the 200-yard Individual Medley, 200 Backstroke, 100 Backstroke, 200 Medley Relay, and 2nd in the 800-yard Freestyle Relay. Subsequently, she won the 200-meter Backstroke, the 100-meter Backstroke, and finished second in the 50-meter Backstroke at World Trials in Indianapolis. At the 2017 FINA World Championships, which took place in July and August in Budapest, Hungary, Kathleen won gold in the 4×100-meter Women’s Medley Relay, silver in the 100-meter Backstroke, bronze in the 200-meter Backstroke, and 5th in the 50-meter Backstroke.


Tom Brewer is a life-long resident of Greensboro, NC, where he began his work as a North Carolina and USA Swimming Official in 1991. In 1992, Tom served as a stroke and turn official at all NC short course and long course championship meets which enabled him to become a USA Swimming National Official. He also officiated at two USA Swimming Junior National meets and became a Certified National Championship Swimming Official as a result. In 1993, Tom became a meet director for Greensboro Swimming Association (GSA), one of the leading age group swim clubs in the Greensboro area. At the time, GSA hosted four meets a year and Tom was the director for all four. In addition, Tom served as meet director for USA Swimming, college conference championship, high school, and Masters Swimming competitions. Some of those meets included 23 Eastern Invitational regional age group swimming meets, USA Swimming Southeastern Senior Swimming Championships, the 2015 North Carolina Short Course Age Group Championships, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) collegiate championships, the Metro Conference 4A High School Championships, and the Frank Clark Masters Meet. Tom also served as lead official for the 2016 U.S. Masters Swimming National Short Course Championships, and more recently the USA Swimming Junior National Championships. Both meets were held at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. Since 2000 Tom has served as an Administrative Official working at GSA meets. As a result of his long-standing service to USA Swimming, GSA, and the swimming community at large, Tom was recognized by USA Swimming with their Outstanding Service Award.


John Calvert swam collegiately at North Carolina State University (NCSU) from 1964-1968. In 1965, John placed 1st in the Men’s 100-yard Backstroke, 200 Backstroke, and 200 Individual Medley (IM) at the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Freshman Championships. In 1966, at the ACC Swimming Championships, John placed 1st place in the 200-yard IM and 400 IM, and placed 2nd in the 200 Backstroke. At the NCAA Swimming Championships that year, John placed 2nd in the 400 IM, and he earned All-American honors in the 200-yard IM, 200 Backstroke, 400 IM, and 800 Men’s Freestyle Relay. The following year at the ACC Swimming Championships, John finished 1st in the 200 and 400-yard IM’s, and 2nd in the 200 Backstroke. In 1968 John won three events at the ACC Swimming Championships – the 200-yard IM, 400 IM, and 200 Backstroke. Also during 1968, John competed at the U.S. Swimming Olympic Trials, finishing 10th in the 400-meter Individual Medley and 15th in the 200-meter IM. After his collegiate swimming career, John became an assistant coach at NCSU, and subsequently head coach at Raleigh Swimming Association (RSA), a local age-group swimming club. Later John became an adult swimming athlete, competing in U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS). He held multiple North Carolina State Masters records from 1985-1989, while also achieving 27 National Masters Records and 22 World Records. During his Masters Swimming career, John has earned 152 individual Top Ten times, 27 Top Ten Relay times, and participated at 4 World Masters Championships. A resident of Raleigh, John is now a Volunteer Masters Coach at RSA.


Kathy McKee, daughter of Martha McKee, a 1989 NC Swimming Hall of Fame inductee, grew up in Chapel Hill, NC. She began her career at Dynamo Swim Club in Atlanta, GA, in 1977, where she served as Assistant Coach and Head Age Group Coach for 17 years. While at Dynamo, Kathy played a major role in developing Olympians, National Champions, and American record holders, including world-ranked swimmers such as Eric Wunderlich, Carlton Bruner, and Mary Ellen Blanchard. In 1989, Dynamo Swim Club achieved a milestone by winning the USA Swimming 18 & Under National Championships for Women. By 1990 Dynamo had more swimmers ranked in the Top 50 than any other swim club in the world. During her tenure at Dynamo, Kathy was named Georgia Age Group Coach of the Year on four different occasions, and in 2019, she was inducted into the Georgia Aquatic Hall of Fame. In 1994, Kathy joined SwimMAC in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she served as Assistant Coach until 2012. While at SwimMAC, she worked with Head Coach David Marsh, a Class of 2016 NC Swimming Hall of Fame honoree. In 2007, Kathy was named coach for the USA Swimming National Junior Team. From 2012 to 2017 Kathy coached at North Carolina Aquatic Club, based in Chapel Hill, NC. In 2014, she was recognized as the North Carolina Swimming Age Group Coach of the Year. Throughout her coaching career, Kathy served on several committees with USA Swimming, North Carolina Swimming, and Georgia Swimming. Kathy passed away on May 30, 2023, but continues to be remembered as one of the leading age group swimming coaches in the country.


Eric Schwall began competitive swimming at the age of 13 during the summer of 1961 in Raleigh, NC. From 1963 to 1966, Eric swam for Enloe High School in Raleigh as the high school’s first and only varsity swimmer at the time – literally Enloe High’s one-man swim team! In the North Carolina State High School Swimming Championships, in both 1965 and 1966 Eric placed first in the 50-yard, 100-yard, and 200-yard Freestyle events. Eric set a new NC High School 100-yard Freestyle record that stood for 21 years! These performances earned Eric High School All-American honors. During that same timeframe (1963-1966), Eric also participated on the North Carolina Aquatic Club – Senior Group – a combined group of North Carolina State University and University of Chapel Hill swimmers coached by Willis Casey, a 1985 NC Swim Hall of Fame honoree and Head Swim Coach at North Carolina State University. During the 1967-68 school year, Eric attended Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California. While at Foothill College Eric earned All-American honors in five events and competed at the 1968 U.S. Swimming Olympic Trials in Long Beach, California. From the Fall of 1968 to Spring 1971, Eric was a full-scholarship, varsity swimmer for North Carolina State University under Coach Willis Casey. Eric became an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Champion in the 50-yard Freestyle and 100-yard Freestyle for three years in a row: 1969, 1970, and 1971. He was also an All-American in the 50-yard Freestyle. In 1971 Eric made All-American in three events: the 100-yard Freestyle Relay, 400-yard Freestyle Relay, and 800-yard Freestyle Relay. From 1971-2005 Eric worked for the Raleigh YMCA (Central YMCA) as Head Swim Coach, Aquatics Director, Assistant Youth Director, Fitness Director, and Director of Residence Operations. Along with these accomplishments, Eric was also the Water Polo Sport Coordinator for the 34-sport U.S. Olympic Festival, held across central North Carolina during July 1987.

ABOUT The North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame: The North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame was founded in 1985 to recognize outstanding achievements in, and contributions to, the sport of Swimming in North Carolina. From 1985 to 1991 the NC Swimming Hall of Fame conducted six induction ceremonies honoring 27 inductees, but subsequently went on a long hiatus. In 2015 a new NC Swimming Hall of Fame Committee came together to re-establish the NC Swimming Hall of Fame. The new committee was supported by the Triangle Sports Commission, the regional sports commission for Wake, Durham, and Orange Counties, North Carolina. The 2016 Induction Ceremony was the first in 25 years. Under the new Committee, the Hall aims to recognize outstanding accomplishments and contributions across a broader spectrum of aquatic sports including Swimming, Diving, Synchronized Swimming, Water Polo, Masters Swimming, and Open Water Swimming. In particular, the Committee seeks to honor those individuals or groups that have achieved at a high level and/or made a significant positive difference in aquatic sports in North Carolina. For more information on the North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame visit

About the Triangle Sports Commission: The Triangle Sports Commission is the sports commission for the Triangle region of North Carolina consisting of Wake, Durham, and Orange Counties. A long-time Community Olympic Partner of the U.S. Olympic Committee, the TSC focuses on the hosting of Olympic and amateur sports events and activities that help develop athletes, promote the region, and foster positive branding and economic impacts for the Raleigh-Durham market. The TSC recruited, and secured over $13 million in funding commitments for, the relocation of USA Baseball’s headquarters and national training complex to the Triangle. TSC leadership secured over $20 million for expansions of other destination facilities such as WakeMed Soccer Park and the Cary Tennis Park. The TSC has served as host organization for the U.S. Olympic Trials – Table Tennis, Collegiate Rugby National Championships, ACC Baseball Championships, and the world’s first-ever Rugby 7’s Olympic Qualification Tournament, among others. Most recently, the TSC, after a 5-year bid effort, landed the 2029 World University Games, which will be held in the Triangle and Triad regions of North Carolina during July 2029. The WUG is the world’s largest event for student athletes and is the second-largest global Olympic multi-sport event behind the Summer Olympics. The staff of the TSC has served as the staff of the North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame since the NCSHOF’s re-establishment in 2015. For more information on the TSC, visit For more information on the World University Games, visit


— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact 

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