Kathleen Baker (born February 28, 1997) is an American competition swimmer who specializes in freestyle and backstroke events. At the 2016 Summer Olympics, she won a gold medal in the 4x100-meter medley relay and a silver medal in the individual 100-meter backstroke.
Baker attended Forsyth Country Day School until the tenth grade, and then was home-schooled so it would be easy to travel back and forth between Winston-Salem,North Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina to swim and train with SwimMAC Carolina. Her mother swam for the College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina and her older sister, Rachel currently swims for Washington and Lee University.
In 2010, Baker was diagnosed with Crohn's disease.
Baker attends the University of California, Berkeley, where she competes for the California Golden Bears swimming and diving team.
At the 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals, the qualification meet for the 2014 Pan Pacifics, Baker finished second in the 200-meter backstroke and qualified for the team. She finished ninth in the 200-meter backstroke at Pan Pacifics, just outside the final.
Baker was also selected to the 2015 World Championships roster in the 100-meter backstroke. She placed eighth in the final of the 100-meter backstroke. She also swam in the prelims for the 4x100-meter medley relay, but didn't receive a medal as the final squad finished fourth.
2016 Summer Olympic Games
At the 2016 Olympic Trials, Baker qualified for her first Olympics in the 100-meter backstroke by finishing second with a time of 59.29.
In Rio, she won a silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 58.75, three tenths behind the winner Katinka Hosszú. She was not considered by many to be a medal threat since she had never broken 59 seconds prior to the Olympics. Baker also won a gold medal alongside Lilly King, Dana Vollmer, and Simone Manuel as the lead off of the 4x100-meter medley relay.