After a record-tying eight medal run at the Commonwealth Games in April followed by five medals at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships Taylor Ruck was named the Aquatic Athlete of the Year by Swimming Canada.
The award is given to any athlete involved in one of the four sports governed by Swimming Canada: swimming, water polo, diving, and artistic swimming.
“There’s so many great Canadian athletes and it’s so humbling to be considered the top Canadian female,” Ruck told Swimming Canada.
At 16 Ruck emerged onto the international scene after a selection from Swimming Canada‘s high performance director placed her on the Olympic squad. In Rio, she was part of two bronze-medal relays to earn her first major international hardware. The 2018 Commonwealth Games this season served as her first senior international long course meet where she was competitive in the individual events, taking an individual gold in the 200m freestyle, silvers in the 50m freestyle and 200m backstroke, and bronze medals in the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke. Along with three other relay medals, Ruck solidified her record tying eight-medal haul.
“That kind of meet got me to set my sights higher. I just had so much fun there,” said Ruck. “I think when I got to [medal] number six, Ben [Titley] started putting his sights on eight medals. I was like, ‘OK, I guess this is attainable.'”
Ruck took her talents to the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, Japan where she won five medals and set the all-time Canadian record for most medals by a swimmer at the quadrennial competition.
Ruck’s biggest accomplishment was a gold medal in the 200m freestyle, taking down Olympic Champion Katie Ledecky to hand her, her only second-ever loss in a major international final.
The 18-year-old Stanford freshman has now established herself as one of Canada’s top international competitors. Following the completion of the 2017-18 season, Ruck was ranked top 10 internationally in five individual events, and first in the 200m freestyle.
Ruck will be competing at the Canadian World Championship trials this April; Canada’s selection meet for the 2019 World Championships. After failing to qualify for worlds in 2017, this could be Ruck’s first chance to compete at an international meet that features all nations like worlds or the Olympics.