Posted on July 30, 2012 at 6:54 AM
Monday, Jul 30 at 12:24 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Missy Franklin may be grabbing headlines in London's 2012 games, but a Charlotte swimmer could be the 2016 female swimming sensation.
Before a crowd of swimming enthusiasts in February, Kathleen Baker broke Franklin's 14 and Under National Age Group Record in the 100 backstroke. The humble Forsyth Country Day student said she was motivated to swim her best race back in the new Greensboro Aquatic Center.
"But it was a plus that it was her record and a record of someone who is so good," she said.
Baker's coach at SwimMAC, Alan Pfau, calls the athlete "passionate and very goal oriented."
"Everyday she's looking to accomplish something specific...every day," he said.
Although Baker commutes daily to practices in Charlotte, she still finds time to be a teenager. Baking is one of her favorite past times.
"I like to make cake pops, hang out with friends, play video games," she said before a morning practice at MAC. She also spends a little time on twitter communicating with friends and other swimmers. "Great day golfing with dad," said a recent tweet. "Sad swims at Olympic Trials are over," said another.
Last month in Omaha, Nebraska, at the Olympic Trials, the qualifying event leading into the Olympics, Baker and Franklin competed head-to-head in the 100 Backstroke.
"She was friendly, but then serious as she got closer to her race," she said of the swimmer who is expected to medal multiple times in London.
And although Franklin went on to win the event and make the Olympic Team, Baker got a chance to compete against the best in the world. The experience, she believes, will help her career going forward.
"I love to swim; I enjoy the process," she said.
Asked if she could be a real Olympic Contender for the Rio games in four years, Pfau said, "I'd say she's someone to be reckoned with at Trials."