BIRMINGHAM – Summer McIntosh is 15, fast and always in a hurry.
Following her four medals, including two individual golds, at the recent World Aquatics Championships, the Canadian picked up six medals at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, an encore performance that has earmarked her as the next big thing in swimming.
She wrapped up her Games debut on Wednesday (Aug 3) with a silver in the 400m freestyle – narrowly losing to Australian middle distance star Ariarne Titmus – and reminded everyone she is still very much a teenager, waiting to celebrate her sweet 16 in two weeks.
Standing at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre’s mixed zone, McIntosh, who enjoys sleepovers with friends on weekends and creating TikToks with her older sister Brook, 17, was happily sharing a pack of Haribo gummy bears with her teammates.
She told The Straits Times: “I was around probably 10 or 11 when I started to dream about going to the Olympics for the first time.
“Obviously I wasn’t going to make it when I was 10 but it was such a dream of mine to do and it was such an unrealistic goal that I had for myself and to be here now is very unreal, I feel like I’m living through someone else’s body to be honest.
“I’m just so proud of where I’ve come and this whole team is just amazing. Everyone I compete against are probably some of my biggest idols ever and to be able to even race them is such an honour and an incredible experience that not many people get to do.”
She is already an Olympian, having featured at last year’s Tokyo Games where she narrowly missed out a medal twice, finishing fourth in the 400m free and 4x200m free relay.
Here in England, she bagged the 200m and 400m individual medley titles – both in Games record times – along with three silvers and a bronze.
Her exploits in the pool is perhaps unsurprising considering she comes from a family of athletes.
Her mother Jill Horstead swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and claimed a bronze in the 200m butterfly at the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games. Brook meanwhile, is a figure skater who finished fourth at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne and picked up a pairs bronze medal at the 2021 junior worlds.
The 1.75m McIntosh was involved in football, gymnastics, figure skating, horseback riding and artistic swimming. She started swimming competitively at eight and said: “I just really enjoy the day-to-day grind and hard work for what it takes to be a high performance athlete and just pushing myself in practice and pushing my body to the limit just so that I can do it well in competition.”