Canadian national teamer and former Minnesota Gopher Mackenzie Padington announced her retirement from competitive swimming via her Instagram on Friday.
In the post, Paddington cites her mental health, long-lasting injuries, and inability to train in her ideal location, Minnesota, as the reasons for her decision.
Padington raced for the University of Minnesota for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 NCAA seasons and was a solid freestyle asset for the school. At the 2018 Big Ten Championships, she helped her team to a school record in the 4×200 freestyle relay and finished 15th and 16th, respectively in the 200 free (1:47.50) and 500 free (4:45.61). She went on the race at NCAA’s that year, improving to a 1:44.37 in the 200 free for 12th place.
The next year, Padington won silver at the 2019 Big Ten Championships in the 500 free, swimming a 4:37.27. She also notched a 7th place finish in the 1650 freestyle with a 16:10.54 and an 18th place finish in the 200 with a 1:47.69. Padington reached the national podium twice at 2019 NCAAs when earned a bronze medal in both the 500 and 1650 freestyle, hitting a 4:35.21 and 15:47.16, respectively.
2019 NCAAs would end up being Padington’s last collegiate meet as she didn’t return to Minnesota for the 2019-2020 season. Padington took a redshirt year in order to prepare for the 2020 Canadian Olympic Trials. In January of 2020, Padington announced that she would not be returning to Minnesota the following year and would instead join the NC State Wolfpack for the remaining 2 years of her NCAA career.
Padington made another shift in May of 2020 when she announced that she would forgo her final 2 years of eligibility, turn professional, and swim for the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The UBC Thunderbirds are the reigning USports champions, having won both the women’s and men’s titles in 2020. Earlier this season the 2021 USports Championships was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Padington is currently listed as a third-year member on the UBC Thunderbirds roster but has ultimately decided to retire from the sport.
Racing internationally for Canada, Padington won a bronze medal as a part of the 4×200 relay at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships with Kayla Sanchez, Taylor Ruck, and Rebecca Smith. The next year, she won gold at Canadian Trials in the 400, 800, and 1500 freestyle, going on the place 18th in the 800 and 24th in the 400 at World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
Padington ended her retirement post by thanking the University of Minnesota, Swimming Canada, and the Campbell River Killer Whales, her original club team in Campbell River, British Columbia.