McIntosh swims to another win, takes another step to Paris


Minutes after she won her final race at the Canadian swimming trials, Summer McIntosh was stretching on her tippy toes to pass her latest medals to young kids leaning over the stands shouting her name.

“I know how much it means to those kids up there,” she said about handing off medals for winning the 200-metre freestyle in another world junior record time. “I was once in their position, so I know exactly how it feels.”

McIntosh, who set two senior world records in less than a week. is still only 16 years old, so she doesn’t have to think too far back to her days of admiring star athletes. But at this event, which determined the 31-member Canadian team for this summer’s world aquatics championships, McIntosh was the brightest star. She produced record-breaking swims in every event she was in.

In five events over six days, she set world marks in the 400 freestyle and 400 individual medley and lowered her junior world records in the 200 individual medley, 200 butterfly and 200 freestyle.

The Toronto teen has been keeping staff at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre busy. With every record, they’ve hauled out a special lift and sent someone in safety gear into the building’s rafters to update the numbers on the board that reads: “Welcome to Canada’s Fastest Pool.”

After her last race Sunday night, McIntosh finally confessed to being “super exhausted” and looking forward to spending time relaxing at home in Toronto. “It’s going to be nice to be with my family and friends for a little bit before I get back to Florida,” she said.

McIntosh comes from a family of sporting excellence: Her mother, Jill, swam the 200 butterfly at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and her sister, Brooke, is an elite pairs figure skater.

That break she is excited about will last a grand total of two days before she flies back to Florida on Tuesday night to resume her training with the Sarasota Sharks.

McIntosh’s swim coaches have called her mature beyond her years, and her attitude to her success at these trials makes it easy to see why.

She has called setting world records “fun” and “very nice” but she also made it clear that those records, along with her other swimming accolades, are just “stepping-stones” to a bigger goal: the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Obviously, I’m really happy to come back with two world records, I never thought that was a possibility going into this meet,” she said. “So, overall, I can only really be happy, but no matter what there’s always something to improve on.”

After setting her first world record in the 400 freestyle Tuesday, she talked about learning to reset for the races still to come.

“Definitely the hardest part is trying to fall asleep,” she said. “That’s something that I’m really starting to learn, how to kind of shut my mind off away from the pool and calm myself down.”

After her second world record in the 400 individual medley on Friday, which was nearly a three-second improvement on her previous time, she was already thinking of what she could learn from it.

“There’s always room for improvement, no matter if you (achieve a personal best) by a few seconds. I always watch my races over with my coach and kind of nitpick (over) what I can do better to keep improving.”

Along with her new world and junior world records, McIntosh’s resumé includes seven world championship medals, six Commonwealth Games medals and a fourth-place finish in the 400 freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics when she was 14 years old. And it’s all just preparation for what’s still to come, starting this summer at the world championships.

“Once you get to the world stage and really big meets like that, it’s just about getting your hand on the wall first. I mean, obviously it’d be nice to keep (swimming personal bests) and my goal is always to keep improving, but I’m just excited to race a bunch of people there.”


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