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The McIntoshes wanted their daughters to experience a kaleidoscope of sports. Brooke And Summer She grew up in Toronto and did horseback riding, gymnastics and even skiing.

At the age of 7, Summer limited sports to skating and swimming, and became ill after falling on the ice in a competition.

He still won. It confused him. His parents explained how refereed sports, where imperfect performances can prevail, differ from racing against the clock.

“He stopped skating the next day,” his father said. the wolfsaid.

Summer McIntosh chose swimming because she wanted to win.

She made her Olympic debut at age 14 in Tokyo, then won two gold medals at the world championships last June, part of a global group of 2000s baby boomers who took up the sport.

“Swimming has always been my favorite because it’s so simple,” she said. “You have the fastest time and you win.”

Turns out, McIntosh went into the family business. mom Jill He swam in the 1984 Olympics and finished ninth in the 200m butterfly final.

Three decades later, they watched it together on the family computer.

“I remember being amazed at how far swimming has come since then,” McIntosh said.

“I remember him laughing in our swimsuits,” Jill said.

McIntosh never actually finished his first swimming lessons. At level seven of a 10-level program, Jill said, it was suggested they move him to a more competitive group “because he had a very natural feel for the water.”

McIntosh who turned 2 a day later Michael Phelps He won his eighth gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and said he began swimming seriously at the age of 12.

In a scene reminiscent of Phelps, coach McIntosh pulled Jill aside and she began breaking national age-group records.

“We don’t really talk about them with Summer,” Jill recalled Kevin Thorburn Telling him “because what you don’t want is a 12-year-old thinking they’ve succeeded when he has more potential to go.”

McIntosh’s parents said in separate interviews that it was Thorburn, then coaching him at the Etobicoke Swim Club in Ontario, who first predicted the kinds of great things McIntosh would now achieve.

Like when McIntosh turned 13 in August 2019. Thorburn told him he could swim the 1,500m freestyle fast enough to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games, which would make him the youngest Canadian Olympian in any sport in 44 years. They changed their workouts from all fours to focus on grueling distance.

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Postponing the Olympics to 2021 gave McIntosh an extra year to earn points. He did so in three individual events and one relay.

Thorburn was not there to see it. He died in April 2020 at the age of 63.

“His passing was an absolute shock and devastating for Summer,” Greg said.

In January 2021, Greg was diagnosed with early-stage, treatable throat cancer (and is now cured). Jill probably only remembers that day as McIntosh missing a swim practice.

The family decided to have him live in a separate apartment from Jill, Brooke, then an elite figure skater, and Summer, who was training for the Olympic trials, in part to reduce the risk of contracting Covid.

“She used swimming as a positive thing in her life at that point and it was truly a blessing,” Jill said.

On June 20, 2021, Jill walked her younger daughter at the Pan Am Sports Center in Toronto for the Olympic 200m freestyle final. Covid restrictions meant no spectators.

CBC gave the families of the swimmers the opportunity to have video interviews with the winners. Jill had to watch the race over a river from the parking lot while waiting to drive her daughter home. So Greg, dealing with side effects from radiation and chemotherapy, got out of bed, showered for the first time in three days, and called just in case.

McIntosh won. He won an Olympic position and virtually talked to Greg and wished him a happy Father’s Day.

The following month, McIntosh traveled outside the United States and Canada for the first time to swim. It was for the Tokyo Olympics. Before the Games, McIntosh told the rest of the Canadian swimmers at a team-building practice that if he could wish for a superpower, he would “never get old,” Sportsnet reported.

He broke the Canadian record in the 400m freestyle in his first Olympic race, then lowered it again in the final to finish fourth. According to Olympedia.org, it was the best individual Olympic finish for any young swimmer in the last 25 years.

“I really had no expectations,” he said. For me, even being on the Olympic team was really a big deal for me and one of my main goals.

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The climb continued into his World Championships debut last June in Budapest. In the 400m freestyle, he went 3.03 seconds faster than the Olympics and took silver. Katie Ledecky.

By winning her mother’s event, the 200m fly, she became the youngest individual world champion since 2011. There was no celebration in the water. “I think I’m a little bit in shock right now,” he said moments later in a pool deck interview. Months later, he said it was the highlight of his career. Unlike the trials and Tokyo, his parents were there to see it.

“He was calm and collected about everything,” Gregg said. “He made a very good point that he has more races ahead of him, so he didn’t want to go too high.”

On the final day of the eight-day event, he won the 400m individual medley, crowning him the world’s best all-around swimmer.

McIntosh picked up his braces, then flew to Birmingham, England for the Commonwealth Games. He swept the 200m and 400m individual medley at the junior world records, claiming a total of six podiums. He flew home, decompressed at the family cottage along Lake Ontario with 11 friends, and celebrated his 16th birthday.

The medals are placed in a box that looks like a chair in the family’s basement in Toronto. McIntosh is now the third fastest woman ever in the 400m IM and the fourth fastest woman in the 400m freestyle. He does not set a specific target time.

“Everything is different for everyone,” said McIntosh, who puts more emphasis on median divisions within races. “If you have time and don’t know how to get it, it’s harder to evaluate what you want to do.”

He does not have a favorite event. “It’s like asking parents who their favorite child is,” he said.

From the outside, the most anticipated race of the 2024 Olympics is on the first night: the 400m freestyle, possibly against the last two Olympic champions in Ledecky and Australia. Ariren TitmusThe two fastest women in history. A year and a half away, the race has already been compared to the “Race of the Century”, the 2004 Olympic men’s freestyle event that featured Aussie legend Phelps. Ian Thorpe And Grant Hackett and the Dutch star Peter van den Hoogenband (Thorpe winner).

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“He wants to live up to what he thinks is his full potential, which is to compete with the best,” Gregg said.

With that in mind, McIntosh last year moved from Toronto to Sarasota, Florida (a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky in Gainesville), where he was already a block away when COVID got bad in Ontario. had an education Jill said the Sarasota Sharks have more swimmers McIntosh’s age sharing her events.

McIntosh and his mother rent a house less than a mile from the outdoor pool. McIntosh needs a driver for practice at 5 a.m. because his learner’s permit doesn’t allow him to legally get behind the wheel before sunrise. “I get up at 4:10 in the morning to take him to the pool for a minute and a half,” laughed Jill.

McIntosh fuels up on banana pecan cake from Publix, attends virtual school (she’s set to graduate next year), and scans TikTok for home decor and interior design inspiration.

He confirmed that he would be in Ontario in late October. She was sitting at an ice rink in Mississauga, watching older sister Brooke practice for the biggest international figure skating competition of her young career. The next day, McIntosh defeated Ledecky for the first time in a World Cup match in Toronto. The following day, Brooke and her pairing partner finished fourth as the second youngest team in an eight-team field at Skate Canada.

McIntosh is in the middle of heavy training, so he’ll be watching Brooke compete at the Canadian Championships this week via live stream from Florida. His relatives praise his work ethic. Penny Oleksiakthe 2016 Olympic 100m freestyle champion, labeled him “all gas and no brakes”.

It has been like that for years. McIntosh said another sport he was interested in in elementary school was running. He did the 400m because he said it was the furthest distance for kids at that age.

“I wasn’t the best runner, but if I wasn’t a swimmer, I’d be a runner,” she said.

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