McIntosh Continues To Marvel: 14-Year-Old Smashes Canadian 800 Free NAG In 8:25


Despite facing far and away the most pressure-packed competition of her young career, Canada’s Summer McIntosh has continued to perform unbelievably well at the Tokyo Olympic Games at the age of 14.

McIntosh broke the Canadian Record twice en route to taking fourth in the women’s 400 freestyle (4:02.42), was a semi-finalist in the 200 free, and then on Thursday morning in Tokyo, threw down a lifetime best of 1:55.77 leading off Canada’s fourth- place-finishing 800 free relay—the fastest 200 ever by a swimmer aged 15 and under.

Just a few hours after that relay, McIntosh was back in action during the penultimate preliminary session from the Olympic Aquatics Centre, contesting her fourth event of the meet in the 800 free.

Swimming in the non-circle-seeded Heat 2, McIntosh paced herself to a time of 8:25.04, well under her previous best of 8:29.48 set at the Canadian Olympic Trials in June.

Split Comparison

McIntosh, 2021 Olympic Trials McIntosh, 2021 Olympics
28.88 28.68
1:00.26 (31.38) 59.85 (31.17)
1:31.57 (31.31) 1:31.40 (31.55)
2:03.06 (31.49) 2:02.84 (31.44)
2:34.53 (31.47) 2:34.21 (31.37)
3:06.43 (31.90) 3:05.93 (31.72)
3:38.38 (31.95) 3:37.61 (31.68)
4:10.84 (32.46) 4:09.55 (31.94)
4:43.13 (32.29) 4:41.60 (32.05)
5:15.58 (32.45) 5:13.65 (32.05)
5:47.70 (32.12) 5:45.77 (32.12)
6:20.21 (32.51) 6:17.91 (32.14)
6:52.57 (32.36) 6:50.00 (32.09)
7:25.40 (32.83) 7:22.13 (32.13)
7:58.25 (32.85) 7:54.06 (31.93)
8:29.48 (31.23) 8:25.04 (30.98)

That marks a new Canadian 13-14 Age Group Record for McIntosh, with her old PB being the previous record, and it also makes her faster than any American aged 14 or under.

The current U.S. 13-14 NAG sits at 8:28.54, set by Becca Mann in 2012, while current world record holder Katie Ledecky ranks third at 8:30.14. Ledecky would go on to win Olympic gold at the age of 15 in a much faster time of 8:14.63.

According to USA Swimming’s database, McIntosh is the third-fastest swimmer aged 14 and under of all-time in the 800, trailing China’s Chen Qian (8:20.36 in 2009, 14 years old) and Li Xuanxu (8:24.37 in 2008, 14 years old).

McIntosh, a native of Etobicoke, Ontario, also moves up from fourth to second all-time among Canadians, trailing only Brittany Maclean, a 2016 Canadian Olympic medalist who hails from the same home club as McIntosh (Etobicoke Swim Club).

Maclean, who has been doing analysis of the competition for CBC all week, set the National Record of 8:20.02 at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships in Australia.

Set to turn 15 in August, McIntosh ultimately placed 11th overall in the event, with Ledecky leading the prelims in 8:15.67. The time required to qualify for the final this year, 8:20.58, is five seconds faster than it took at the 2016 Games (8:25.55).

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1 month ago

As a father of 3 daughters, all who were swimmers,I was concerned about a 14 year old girl going to an event as big as an Olympics.But she has handled it with apparent ease.Good on her and kudos to her team mates for helping her through.

Reply to  bob
1 month ago

I just hope she can handle the (likely unreasonable) external expectations over the next 3 years.

M Palota
Reply to  Pags
1 month ago

She’s got a good support system around her. Her mom swam for Canada in ’84, plus Swim Canada has some experience shielding athletes like Summer and she’s got Penny. Penny was just a year & a bit older in Rio. One never knows with female swimmers as young as Summer but fingers crossed.

Pacific Whirl
1 month ago

According to Meet Mobile, the fastest 14yo in this event is Xu Danlu with a 8:22 from 2012 Asian Championships.

Last edited 1 month ago by Pacific Whirl

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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