In her Olympic debut at Rio 2016, Taylor Ruck won bronze medals with the women’s 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relay squads, making her and teammate Penny Oleksiak the first ever Olympic medallists born in the 21st century.

Ruck wrote more history in 2018 when she tied the record for most medals won by an athlete at a single edition of the Commonwealth Games. Her eight medals matched the total of Canadian Ralph Hutton (1966) and Australians Emily Seebohm (2010) and Susie O’Neill (1998). Ruck set a Commonwealth Games record to win gold in the 200m freestyle and won silver medals in the 50m freestyle, 200m backstroke, 4x100m freestyle relay, 4x200m freestyle relay and 4x100m medley relay to go with bronze medals in the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke.

Later in 2018, Ruck became the first Canadian swimmer to win five medals at a single edition of the Pan Pacific Championships. The big highlight was her victory in the 200m freestyle, in which she swam a championship record time of 1:54.44 to defeat reigning Olympic champion Katie Ledecky of the United States. She also won silver in the 200m backstroke, bronze in the 100m freestyle, and bronzes in the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays.

Despite growing up in Arizona, Ruck has wanted to represent Canada since childhood. When her family would visit her grandparents in Kelowna, she and her brother trained with the Aqua Jets, the same team her mother swam for as a teenager, prompting her Canadian dream. She had her first opportunity to wear the maple leaf at the 2015 FINA World Junior Championships in Singapore, winning six medals. Ruck won gold in both the 100m freestyle and 200m freestyle, breaking the championship record in both.

A little more about Taylor… 

Family: Her father Colin played in the Western Hockey League… Her family moved to Arizona when she was 10 months old for her father’s work… Getting into the Sport: Started swimming lessons at 11 months at Cactus Pool in Scottsdale… Her parents couldn’t keep her away from water; she would happily walk into the deep end of her grandparents’ pool… Started racing competitively in the USA swimming program at age 8… Outside Interests: Enjoys making art, playing with her pug, taking road trips to visit family in Kelowna, hiking, paddle-boarding… Odds and Ends: Nickname T-Ruck… Inspired by Missy Franklin because of her talent, hard work, great attitude, and Canadian background… Likes to eat at Chipotle the night before a race… On race day her dad makes her an egg, hash brown and turkey bacon breakfast… Favourite motto: Never give up…