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North Carolinian Kathleen Baker Swims Her Way To Silver

Courtesy of SwimMAC Carolina.

North Carolinian Kathleen Baker will be coming home with a medal from Rio. The swimmer won a silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke Monday night. 

On Monday night in Rio, 19-year-old Kathleen Baker swam neck and neck with Hungarian Katinka Hosszu.

Ultimately it was Hosszu who snagged the gold. But for the North Carolina native, it was nothing but a win. 

Baker has Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. Early in her diagnosis, both she and her doctors wondered what kind of future, if any, she’d have in swimming.

After the race with a silver medal in hand, she was excited and nearly breathless in an interview with NBC Sports.

"This couldn’t mean anything bigger to me and I’m going to cry! I was so honored to do that and I’ve had so much help along the way. My doctors, my coaches, my nurses, and of course my family who is right up there screaming for me," Baker said.

Baker grew up in Winston-Salem, and spent significant time in Charlotte training with SwimMac.

Along with winning the silver medal, Baker also had a personal best time, finishing in 58.75 seconds, and a fraction of a second away from Hosszu.

Baker’s teammate Katie Meili who also trained at Charlotte’s SwimMac earned a bronze medal Monday night in the 100 meter breaststroke.