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article imageOlympic swimmer Kathleen Baker talks ISL, LA Current and success Special

By Markos Papadatos     Sep 14, 2019 in Sports
Two-time Olympic medalist Kathleen Baker chatted with Digital Journal about the International Swimming League (ISL) and competing for the Los Angeles Current.
On being a part of the new ISL, she said, "I am so excited for what this is doing for our sport. It is such an amazing thing to have a professional league of swimmers. I am excited to see how it becomes bigger and bigger in the years to come."
Baker praised Los Angeles Current General Manager Lenny Krayzelburg for doing an "amazing job already." "I really love the team that I am on. I am really confident with him and what he can do for the team. We already have this team bonding down and when you have that, you swim faster," she said.
She is thrilled that German swimmer Marius Kusch is a part of the ISL as well, where he is competing for the New York Breakers with Tina Andrew as his General Manager. "It is good that we all get to travel together in the year of the Olympics," she said. "I am so happy that the ISL is becoming something that can really help our sport."
On her daily motivations, she said, "I really love what I do and I love to get out there and race and have fun and learn in the sport of swimming." "My motivation this year is revolving around the Olympic Trials and the Olympics," she said.
Olympic swimmer Kathleen Baker
Olympic swimmer Kathleen Baker
JD Lasica, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Baker is the former world record holder in the women's 100 meter backstroke, which she had set on July 28, 2018, in Irvine, California, with a time of 58 seconds. "It was super surreal. I was so proud of how much it took for me to get there. It is cool to see how Regan Smith dropped that record even lower. When people keep breaking records, it pushes the competition," she said.
"I am also focusing on the individual medley (IM) as well," Baker added.
This summer, she was afforded the privilege to enjoy a summer vacation in Greece with Marius Kusch. "Greece was amazing. We enjoyed the ocean since we are both 'water' people. We were swimming in the ocean every day," she said.
Digital transformation of aquatics
On the impact of technology on the sport of swimming, she said, "I think technology has been pretty good. Social media has really bonded a lot of swimmers around the world. I can learn things from other people who I wouldn't see on a daily basis. I think it's so fun that kids get to see the behind the scenes in the sport. We also get to show people what we get to do on the side besides swimming."
Baker uses NormaTec, a Hypervolt massage gun and Stim Compex machine. "You name it. I probably have it," she said with a sweet laugh. "I do massages and physical therapy as well."
For young and aspiring swimmers, she noted the importance of them believing in themselves no matter what goals they have. "Truly believe that you can do it, and envision it," she said. "Surround yourself with a great support system such as your parents, siblings, coaches, and friends, to help you get to that goal and hold you accountable."
"All of the adversity I've gone through has defined my swimming career so much. It is just the tip of the iceberg of what people see on social media. It is so much deeper than that. I really appreciate what I have been able to do with the sport of swimming. It allows me to give back in some ways," she said.
Aside from her swimming endeavors, she is a fighter and serves as an inspiration to anybody who is fighting Crohn's disease. "Just because I have a chronic disease that affects me day to day, doesn't mean that I have to change my goals or be something I don't want to be. I love being a part of the Crohn's and Colitis Community," she said.
On the title of the current chapter of her life, she said, "Starting again from day one." "I am coming off of a hard year. It wasn't what I hoped for. I know I am so much better than my performance at the World Championships in Gwangju coming in sixth place and I want to prove that this year," she said.
Baker defined success as "accomplishing what I am capable." "That is something that is really special to me," she said.
To learn more about two-time Olympic medalist swimmer Kathleen Baker, follow her on Instagram and on Twitter.
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