Summer McIntosh Posts 8:20 800 Freestyle Lifetime Best at Orlando Sectionals

Summer McIntosh -- Photo Courtesy: Swimming Canada/Ian MacNicol

Summer McIntosh Posts 8:20 800 Freestyle Lifetime Best at Orlando Sectionals

Canadian teenager Summer McIntosh established herself as the world’s top 200 butterfly and 400 IM swimmer in 2022, but she continued with the middle-distance freestyle races in which she first established herself internationally at the Tokyo Olympics. But while she has diversified her program, the 800 free has mostly disappeared from her racing schedule.

Now training in Sarasota, Fla., McIntosh raced the 16-lap event Thursday evening at a sectionals meet in Orlando, and she beat the field by almost 21 seconds, with teammate Michaela Mattes placing second. McIntosh recorded a time of 8:20.19, which knocked five seconds off her previous best of 8:25.04, which she posted on the way to an 11th-place finish in Tokyo. The time would have been good enough for fifth place at the most recent World Championships (and less than two tenths short of fourth place).

McIntosh’s initial efforts in U.S. competition included strong showings at the U.S. Open, where she lowered her own world junior record in the 400 IM, and then in yards at Junior Nationals, where she became the second-fastest performer behind Katie Ledecky in the 500-yard free.

Over the remainder of the Orlando meet, McIntosh will stay away from her main events while she has entered the 100 and 200 backstroke, 100 and 200 breaststroke and 100 butterfly. We’ll see if she can record any further world-class times, but at this point, it would be surprising if she makes any additions to her championship-meet program for this summer’s World Championships with the 400 free, 200 fly, 400 IM and two freestyle relays likely on the slate.