Summer McIntosh Ends Fukuoka Test On A High With 4:27.11 CR Victory – Second Fastest Ever – & Two Titles Retained
Summer McIntosh, a World champion at 15 last year and again at 16 this year over 400m medley in a Championship record 4:27.11sec at the Marine Messe in Fukuoka refers often to the learning curve she’s travelling on the road to Paris next year and, amazingly, her second Olympic Games.
One of the lessons is a heartening one for the teenage sensation from Canada: she knows she can bounce back and cope with an off-day of the kind known to have ruined many a major campaign, and even career, down the long years of excellence in the pool.
Summer McIntosh, a World champion at 15 last year and again at 16 this year less than three weeks from her 17th birthday over 400m medley in a Championship record 4:27.11sec at the Marine Messe in Fukuoka refers often to the learning curve she’s travelling on the road to Paris next year and, amazingly, her second Olympic Games.
One of the lessons is a heartening one for the teenage sensation from Canada: she knows she can bounce back and cope with an off-day of the kind known to have ruined many a major campaign, and even career, down the long years ion excellence in the pool.
In the days after McIntosh entered the fray a World record holder over 400m freestyle and emerged with no medal in fourth last Sunday, she took bronze in the 200m freestyle behind a 1:52.85 World record by Aussie Mollie O’Callaghan and a 1:53.01 by teammate Ariarne Titmus, the 400m champion who took down the Canadian world record in a stunning 3:55.38.
On 1:53.65, McIntosh set yet another a world junior record. And then a day later she retained the 200m butterfly title. Today, she kept the 400m medley crown.
Coached by Brent Arckey at the Sarasota Sharks, took charge of the race from the get-go on her way through splits of 59.84, 2:07.19, 3:25.90 and a finishing freestyle split of 1:01.21.
The silver went to American Katie Grimes in 4:31.41 and the bronze to Australian Jenna Forrester in 4:32.30. The champion said:
“Overall I’m really happy with tonight and my whole meet. Coming back after (finishing fourth in the) 400 freestyle (earlier in the meet) I knew it was going to be mentally tough, but I try to turn everything that goes wrong into motivation somehow. I’ve learned so much strategically with my races and where I can improve and continue to grow.”
McIntosh, who last year claimed 200m butterfly gold and 400m freestyle, both in World Junior Records, is the first to retain the 400IM title since triple Olympic champion of 2016 Katinka Hosszu in 2019, the Hungarian having amassed five crowns in the event, in 2009, 2013 ’15, and ’17 at home in Budapest. McIntosh’s time today was the second-fastest ever adrift Hosszu’s 4:25.87 World record.
The Canadian is also the fourth woman to retain the 400IM title since Ukraine’s Yana Klochkova added the 2003 crown to her 2001 win in the same Fukuoka venue as this year’s championship. Katie Hoff, of the USA, was next to keep the gold, in 2005 and 2007.
The Result in full:
McIntosh The Pioneer
McIntosh became the first Canadian to win two golds at a long-course World Swimming Championships last year as the 15-year-old winner of the 400m medley since Tracy Caulkins claimed the 1978 crown.
At 15 years and 311 days, McIntosh became the second youngest winner of the long medley behind Caulkins who was 15 years 224 days old back in 1978 in an era marked by GDR doping but at a championships where the masterminds got the planning wrong, two swimmers got pulled on the way to the west and sent to be cleaned up at the IOC-accredited laboratory after testing positive for banned substances never then reported outside of East Germany, and many others swam below their enhanced best.
They were victims os an abusive system revealed to have harmed thousands of young athletes when the detail of an official state secret emerged and led to convictions of doctors, coaches and others at the German doping trials of 1998-2000. To date, sporting organisations have turned a blind eye to the harm done to generations of athletes, in particular female athletes.
The last of the 400m medley World records set by Petra Schneider at 4:36 in 1980 and 1982 would have still made Olympic and World-Championship podiums and finals over three decades later. Her standard remains the German record to this day, 41 years on, the German DSV national federation having adopted the East German record on reunification despite a weight of evidence proving that the performances were enhanced by testosterone and other banned substances.
Time moves on. The pain remains for all female athletes concerned.
Caulkins, meanwhile, was considered one of the most versatile swimmers ever to grace the pool. The same might be said of McIntosh. The first Canadian to win four medals at a single worlds in 2022, she is the first to retain both the titles she won in Fukuoka. And by Paris 2024, she will still be only 17.