TORONTO – Brittany MacLean’s breakout 2014 has been recognized with a Swimming Canada Big Splash Award, as the 20-year-old from Etobicoke, Ont., was named OMEGA Female Swimmer of the Year Thursday.
The annual award, which was announced on CityTV’s Breakfast Television Toronto, recognizes the best performance by a Canadian female swimmer at the premier international meet(s) of the year.
MacLean won her first major international hardware in 2014, bringing home a total of five medals from the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships. MacLean took bronze in the women’s 800-m freestyle at Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and helped the women’s 4×200-m freestyle relay to silver. She then went on to Pan Pacs in Gold Coast Australia, where she picked up bronze in the 800, 1,500 and 4×200. In the process she claimed the Canadian records for the 800 and 1,500 to go along with the 400-m mark she set at the 2012 Olympics.
Earlier in the year she was named NCAA Swimmer of the Year after helping the University of Georgia Bulldogs win a national championship. Her highlights there included beating American star Missy Franklin in the 500-m freestyle and setting three NCAA records.
“NCAAs was pretty much the meet of my life, then doing well at Canadian Trials, breaking some Canadian records in the summer and winning my first set of international medals, I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” MacLean said. “It’s definitely exciting and I got to travel the world and cheer on all my teammates.”
It was a fantastic comeback for the 2012 Junior Swimmer of the Year, who had an off year in 2013 due in part to injuries.
“It’s exciting, pretty much from start to finish. Last year was a little bit of a transition year with injury and kind of getting adjusted to life at school. This past year I felt like I had a lot to prove and I really wanted to do well for my team back in Georgia because they had supported me so much when I wasn’t doing so great,” MacLean said.
“It started at the beginning of the year with a lot of hard work and preparation. When I started doing well I kind of flowed off the confidence of my previous performances and knowing I was in such great shape.”
Swimming Canada’s Big Splash Awards are being announced through a variety of media each day of the week-long celebration of the best in Canadian swimming.
The final award, Team Aquatic Supplies Female Para-swimmer of the Year, will be announced Friday.??Nathan Stein was named Team Aquatic Supplies Male Para-swimmer of the Year earlier in the week, while Ryan Cochrane received his seventh straight OMEGA Male Swimmer of the Year.