Summer McIntosh gives a thumbs up while in the water by the pool wallDarren Calabrese/COC
Darren Calabrese/COC

Summer McIntosh


Since making her Olympic debut as a 14-year-old, Summer McIntosh has become one of Canada’s most successful swimmers of all time.

In her first two appearances at the World Aquatics Championships in 2022 and 2023, McIntosh won a total of eight medals, four of which were gold. She is the first Canadian swimmer to win four career gold medals at the World Aquatics Championships.

At the 2023 Canadian Trials, McIntosh broke the world records in the women’s 400m freestyle and women’s 400m individual medley. At 16, she was the first swimmer, male or female, to ever own the long course world records in both of those events. She was the first Canadian since Alex Baumann in 1984 to hold two long course world records at the same time and the first Canadian woman to achieve that feat since Elaine Tanner in 1967.

Though the 400m freestyle record was broken later in 2023, McIntosh smashed her own world record in the 400m IM at the 2024 Canadian Olympic Trials. She took 1.5 seconds off her previous mark, making her almost two seconds faster than any woman ever in the event.

McIntosh was the youngest athlete on all of Team Canada at Tokyo 2020. She finished fourth individually in the 400m freestyle. She was also the leadoff swimmer for the 4x200m freestyle relay that placed fourth. She came one spot shy of advancing to the 200m freestyle final and competed in the 800m freestyle.

In her first appearance at the World Aquatics Championships in 2022, McIntosh won gold in the women’s 200m butterfly (2:05.20) and the women’s 400m individual medley (4:32.04) while breaking the world junior record in both. She was the first Canadian swimmer to ever win two gold medals at one edition of the World Aquatics Championships. At 15, she was the youngest Canadian swimmer to win gold at either the World Aquatics Championships or Olympic Games. She also captured silver in the women’s 400m freestyle and bronze in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay, breaking the world junior record for her leadoff leg in the latter.

At the 2022 Commonwealth Games a month later, McIntosh won six medals to be Canada’s most decorated athlete in Birmingham. Her haul included gold medals in the women’s 200m IM (2:08.70) and 400m IM (4:29.01) as well as silver in the women’s 400m freestyle to go with three relay medals: women’s 4x200m freestyle silver, women’s 4x100m medley silver, women’s 4x100m freestyle bronze. She lowered the world junior records in both individual medley events.

At the 2023 Canadian Swimming Trials, McIntosh broke her first senior world record. She swam 3:56.08 in the women’s 400m freestyle to take more than three-tenths of a second off the mark previously held by Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus (who would reclaim the world record at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships). A few days later, McIntosh lowered the women’s 400m IM world record to 4:25.87, going almost half a second faster than Katinka Hosszu’s previous mark from 2016.

At the 2023 World Aquatics Championships, McIntosh reached the podium in four of her seven events. She successfully defended her world titles from 2022 in the 200m butterfly and 400m IM. She added a bronze in the women’s 200m freestyle (setting a world junior record) and was the anchor of the women’s 4x100m medley that won bronze. She set a world championship record of 4:27.11 in the 400m IM. Her winning time of 2:04.06 in the 200m butterfly was a world junior and Americas record.

McIntosh became a contender for the Tokyo 2020 team in May 2021 when she went under the Olympic ‘A’ qualification standard in the 400m freestyle. She took more than 10 seconds off her personal best and eight seconds off the previous national record for the 13-14 age group. Over the course of her young career, McIntosh broke more than 75 Canadian Age Group records.

McIntosh secured her spot on her first Olympic team by winning the 200m freestyle at the Canadian Olympic Trials in late June 2021, beating Penny Oleksiak to the wall. In the process, she lowered her own 13-14 age group national record to 1:56.19. A day later she won the 800m freestyle to qualify for her second event at Tokyo 2020.

Since then, McIntosh hasn’t raced the 800m freestyle at a major international long course meet. But in February 2024, she defeated American legend Katie Ledecky, smashing the Canadian record in the event by nearly nine seconds. McIntosh’s time of 8:11.39 made her the second-fastest ever in the women’s 800m freestyle. No one had beaten Ledecky in an 800m freestyle in 13 years.   

In January 2019, McIntosh had wiped a 45-year-old mark out of the Canadian record books as she lowered the 800m freestyle record for the 11-12 age group to 9:07.16. Before the season was over, she dropped that mark again to 8:51.71, taking 20 seconds off the original record while competing at the senior Canadian Championships. Then-aged 12, she won bronze in the 800m freestyle and the 400m IM. 

McIntosh is a second-generation Olympian, following her mother Jill (née Horstead) who competed in swimming at Los Angeles 1984. 

A Little More About Summer

Getting into the Sport: Started swimming competitively as an 8-year-old in 2014… Has wanted to make the Olympic team since watching the 2016 Olympic Trials in person and being on the pool deck to fist pump all the Canadian swimmers named to the Rio 2016 team… Outside Interests: Enjoys creating TikToks with her sister and doing water sports such as wakeboarding, water skiing, surfing, and tubing at the family cottage… Odds and Ends: Older sister Brooke competed in pairs figure skating at the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games and won bronze at the 2022 World Junior Championships… Inspired by Michael Phelps for doing the hard work needed to become the best… Named one of her two cats Mikey after Phelps because he loves water… During the COVID-19 pandemic received video messages from Spanish Olympic champion Mireira Belmonte Garcia to encourage her to keep working on her butterfly sets… Favourite motto: “Work the hardest and have the most fun and consistently be willing to do what others are not willing to do”… 

Olympic Highlights

Games Sport Event Finish
Tokyo 2020Swimming200m Freestyle - Women9
Tokyo 2020Swimming400m Freestyle - Women4
Tokyo 2020Swimming800m Freestyle - Women11
Tokyo 2020Swimming4x200m Freestyle Relay - Women4

Notable International Results

Olympic Games: 2020 - 9th (200m freestyle), 4th (400m freestyle), 11th (800m freestyle), 4th (4x200m freestyle relay)

FINA World Aquatics Championships: 2023 – GOLD (400m IM), GOLD (200m butterfly), BRONZE (200m freestyle), BRONZE (4x100m medley relay), 4th (400m freestyle), 5th (4x200m freestyle relay), 7th (4x100m freestyle relay); 2022 - GOLD (400m IM), GOLD (200m butterfly), SILVER (400m freestyle), BRONZE (4x200m free relay)

Commonwealth Games: 2022 - GOLD (400m IM), GOLD (200m IM), SILVER (400m free), SILVER (4x100m medley relay), SILVER (4x200m free relay), BRONZE (4x100m free relay)