Olympic Gold medalist swimmer Kathleen Baker visits Clovis

Olympian Kathleen Baker celebrates in the pool after a top finish. PHOTO COURTESY OF USA SWIMMING

Two-time Olympian and two-time Olympic Gold medalist Kathleen Baker visited two swim clubs at both Buchanan High School and Clovis North on Wednesday.

The former Cal-Berkeley standout’s visit came in preparation for the TYR Pro Swim Series, which features some of the best swimmers in the world and makes its fifth and final stop in Clovis June 12-15.

“Between 400 and 600 hundred swimmers will come out to compete (Clovis) and a pretty big range of levels, but you’ll have some of the best junior and senior swimmers in the world,” Baker said.

After stops in Knoxville, Des Moines, Richmond and Bloomington, the TYR Pro Swim Series lands at the Clovis North High School Aquatics Complex this summer.

From world-record holders to Olympic medalists, there won’t be a shortage of talent in the Broncos’ pool.

While Baker spent her time in Clovis as an ambassador for the competition, she was also excited to visit with young swimmers and share some advice. Baker had swim lessons with the Seahorse Swim School at Buchanan, then a meet and greet with the Clovis Swim Club at Clovis North.

“I’m super excited to be a part of the swim lessons and I heard this is a summer league team and that’s actually where I first learned how to swim, so I’m really excited to see those kids.”

Baker stressed how important safety is, especially teaching your kids to swim at a young age.

At Clovis North, Baker met with the Clovis Swim Club, a team she’s heard of in the past.

“It’s a really well-known club in the state of California and I’m excited to see all the kids from different age levels and get to interact and share my story,” she said. “Hopefully I get to see a lot of these kids back in June, cheering us on when we come out to swim in Clovis.”

As a kid, Baker would attend meets like the upcoming TYR Pro Swim Series and now, she’s taking part. Baker is also a member of Team Elite, a swim club in California.

Before that, Baker was a four-time NCAA Champion, she took home four medals at the 2018 FINA World Championships, two gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, she currently holds the American record in the 100m backstroke and is part of the American-record setting 400m medley relay team.

“There is no bigger honor for me and my life to have been able to put on my swim cap with the US flag on it and my name underneath like I’ve been my dreaming,” she said. “It summed up pretty much my whole life in the sport.”

But, the 100m really stands out.

“I broke the world record and still own it. That’s the fastest anyone has ever gone in the event, so that’s pretty cool to be able to say I was a part of history.”

It’s safe to say the young swimmers of Clovis got a great chance to see what the top level of swimming looks like, but they get another chance this summer.

Tickets are available at usaswimming.org.

Nugesse Ghebrendrias
For the past three years, Nugesse has been a vital part of the Madera Tribune covering sports, news, entertainment and feature writing. Nugesse’s ability to interact with the community allows him to promote students, athletes and community members with fairness and objectivity. We are happy to have Nugesse join our team here at the Clovis Roundup.