Mary-Sophie Harvey Feeling ‘That Spark’ Again After Terrifying Experience Took it Away

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Mary-Sophie Harvey exited the pool and was all smiles.

The Canadian Olympian had finished second in the 200 IM at the 2023 TYR Pro Swim Series in Fort Lauderdale.

She is finally getting her spark back, something she lost after a terrifying experience at the World Championships.

“It feels really good (to be back). After long-course worlds, I went through a pretty rough emotional time for a while. It was difficult for me to find my spark,” Mary-Sophie Harvey said. “It was a really tough six months mentally. Getting to the right mindset took me a little longer than I wanted it to. But training has been going well, so I have been relying on it. Racing well has helped get me that spark back.”


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Harvey revealed on social media that after Worlds, she was drugged and sustained multiple injuries, part of a “four-to-six-hour window where I can’t recall a single thing.”

She spoke out to warn others of putting themselves in similar situations. But the pain and darkness clouding the situation began to take a toll on her life in and out of the pool.

“The key was my family, my friends and my coach. I was kind of scared to race, even at world short course. It was a situation outside of swimming, but it took away my confidence. It was about trying to build that back up,” Mary-Sophie Harvey said. “We had worlds and not even a month after was Commonwealth Games. I didn’t let myself process what happened because I wanted to focus on Commonwealth Games. The first race I did there, that is when I realized I wasn’t myself. I was just off. It was something that took a bigger toll on me than I thought it would originally.

“It is trying to cope day by day.”

In Fort Lauderdale, she went a 2:11 to finish behind Summer McIntosh in the 200 IM, on her way to a World Junior Record. Not every race went as smoothly, but each was important.

“Summer is always so fast. I remember 2016 and she was like 12. I was in the final in the 400 IM and so was I. I realized that she was born the same year I started swimming. Then four years later, she is kicking my (butt),” Mary-Sophie Harvey said. “She is super sweet and represents us so well. It pushes the older girls on the team. We are just trying to keep up. I feel like we are really heavy on the training right now because trials are coming up. I just wanted to throw down some good times. It was still up and down. (Friday) was a little bit rough for me. But I am really happy I turned things around (Saturday) and managed to go 2:11. That is pretty good for right now.”


Mary-Sophie Harvey. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

How did she bounce back from rough swims?

“Experience … In the past I felt like a bad race would be a bad meet. But throughout the years, I have learned that one bad race doesn’t mean the whole meet will be bad,” she said. “I tried to start over and focus on the next one. It is my favorite event, so I was pretty happy (to race).”

There were five Canadians in the 200 IM final in Fort Lauderdale, a preview on what Canadian Trials will look like the next couple of years as the Canadian women continue their collective rise.

“It is super competitive, which is good and bad. It is tough to make the team, but if you make the team, you are set up well for afterward,” she said.

Harvey is one of the most versatile swimmers in the world. She has the chance to make the Canadian national team in several events, including relays. but has a specific focus.

“The 200 IM will be my focus. But I have been training for a comeback in the 400 IM. I will enter it at trials. We will see if I actually swim it. My last 400 IM was at Olympic Trials. I came third and was like, ‘I’m done.’ The training is good though, for other races, too,” Mary-Sophie Harvey said. “It is fun to do IM because you can do everything. For 2024, every year I focus on a stroke, and this year is breaststroke. I am going to enter the breaststroke. I have been working on it a lot this year. I am excited to see what I can go.

“Maybe it is not competitive enough – maybe it is. We’ll see.”

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G Kasko
6 months ago

You have the right attitude Mary-Sophie! So happy to hear you’re back to enjoying swimming and thank you for representing Canada so well!