Two-time Canadian World Championship team member and former University of Minnesota team member Mackenzie Padington will not be returning to the NCAA after taking an Olympic redshirt during the 2019-20 NCAA season, she told SwimSwam Monday.
In a since-deleted Instagram post, Padington had announced in January that she would transfer to NC State for her final two years of eligibility. She will instead turn professional and attend the University of British Columbia while training with HPC Vancouver for the final three years of eligibility she has left, she said (U Sports, the Canadian collegiate sports governing body, allows student-athletes to compete for five years total).
“I want to stay close to home while training for the Olympics,” she added. Padington also posted on Instagram the move is the “best step forward for [her] mentally.”
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With everything that has happened in recent times I have decided that I will be staying in Canada next year. I will am doing this for myself as I know it is the best step forward for me mentally. I have the utmost respect for everyone supporting my decision and thank you to everyone for being patient with me.
Padington spent two years with the Gophers’ program. As a sophomore, she finished third at NCAAs in both the 500 and 1650 free and was Minnesota’s second-leading scorer with 32 individual points.
A 2018 Pan Pac bronze medalist in the women’s 4×200 free relay, Padington will have a great shot at making her first Olympic team come 2021. At Canada’s 2019 World Championship Trials, she placed first in the women’s 400, 800 and 1500 free. At Worlds, she place 24th in the women’s 400 freestyle and 18th in the 800 free.