Summer McIntosh has been named the Canadian Press female athlete of the year for 2023 after defending her world titles in the 200-meter butterfly and 400-meter individual medley at the world championships.
The 17-year-old said she is “honored” to receive the award and called it “just really cool.” She is expected to build on her successful year at the Paris Olympics in 2024, but she is keeping a level head.
“What I’m most proud of is just how much I’ve learned about myself and kind of how much I’ve gained from each experience,” McIntosh told CBC. “Going into big meets like a world championship, I don’t really have exact expectations of myself especially when it comes to placement or medals, but I definitely tried to just reach my full potential in each one of my races and I think I did that for the most part.”
After a disappointing 400 freestyle at the world championships, McIntosh rebounded to earn bronze in the 200 freestyle before winning gold in her next two events.
She also helped anchor Canada’s medley relay team to bronze, helping the team qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. McIntosh also set two world record at the Canadian trials in March in the 400 IM and 400 freestyle.
She became the first swimmer in history to hold both of those world records at the same time.
“This time last year, I wouldn’t have ever thought I’d break two world records or previous world records. I think it’s still a bit surreal to be honest,” she said. “That just kind of comes back to trying to just keep my head down and keep working and not focus too much on records like that, but it’s a really cool part and kind of a timestamp in history.”
To end the year, McIntosh beat Katie Ledecky in the 400 freestyle at the U.S. Open in early December, marking the first time that Ledecky had lost the event on U.S. soil in 11 years.