WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield High School class of 2014 graduate and Westfield Area YMCA Devilfish alum Caroline Baldwin claimed the gold medal in the 50 Freestyle at this year’s World University Games back in August. Baldwin, a 21-year-old senior at University of North Carolina, represented the United States at the event in Taipai. She also went on to claim the silver medal as the anchor in the 400 Medley Relay.
“This was my first international meet so just being able to swim with people from all over the world and to represent your country is a really special feeling,” Baldwin said.
While Baldwin was seeded second to a competitor from Russia, she thought she had a shot at gold.
“I went in and focused on my race,” Baldwin said. “I put my head down, touched the wall and hoped for the best.”
Before this meet, Baldwin only planned to compete until her NCAA eligibility was over, which allows athletes five years to compete in four seasons. But after her successful international competition, Baldwin has Olympic aspirations.
“This meet really opened my eyes to all of the other possibilities about competing internationally,” said Baldwin. “I think I am going to keep training for 2020 Tokyo.”
Baldwin is currently in her senior season at UNC and is expecting a strong season.
“I am hoping to enjoy every moment with my team. I want to go out with a bang,” she said. Her goal is to place the highest at ACCs in February and at the NCAAs in March.
A standout at Westfield High School and as a competitor for the YMCA Devilfish program, Baldwin is grateful for the hometown support. Both her high chool coach, Jeff Knight, and her YMCA coach, Brian Guidera, reached out with encouragement, she said.
“It was really nice knowing that all of these people were rooting for me,” Baldwin said. “Westfield is special like that — a really close-knit community who all watch out for each other.”
Her next international competition will be the Pan American games in June in South Korea.