McIntyre makes waves

It was quite a series of days for Oak Harbor swimmer Missy McIntyre at the USA National Swimming Championships held April 1-5 in Indianapolis, Ind.

The 15-year-old state champion set personal bests in the 100-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley, moved within four-tenths of a second of an Olympic trial qualifying time and met a swimmer she has idolized growing up, all in her second ever national competition.

“She did very well,” coach Sally McLaren-Meur said. “It’s a little intimidating to go to a meet of this caliber. Once she got out the initial nerves of the meet, she did very well.”

In front of the largest crowd she has ever seen, McIntyre faced off against some of the nation’s best swimmers from all ages.

“The crowd was into it a lot more than state,” McIntyre said. “They were cheering for national records and world records to be set.”

Many Olympians and former Olympians were on hand, including medalist Jenny Thompson, who competed in the same event as McIntyre, the 50-meter freestyle.

“It was awesome,” said McIntyre, who ran into her idol poolside. “I was like oh my god, it’s Jenny Thompson. She was really, really nice.”

Qualifying for nationals a couple of months ago, McIntyre went into last week’s meet more prepared than her first experience in August, when she only qualified a week before making her trip to nationals.

The determined swimmer improved her rankings on three of the four events she competed in, with her largest jump coming in the 100-meter breaststroke. Going into the day’s events she was seeded 61, but ended the competition at 26. She also set a new personal best time of 1:13:08 in the event, just over four tenths of a second off what it takes to compete in the Olympic trials (1:12.59).

“It’s kind of going in steps,” said McIntyre, who aspires to make the 2008 Olympic team.

Her club coach of one-and-a-half years believes that McIntyre can accomplish that goal.

“I certainly think that’s attainable,” McLarne-Meur said.

McIntyre also improved on her placements in the 50-meter freestyle, where she took 77 after being ranked 101 and finished 90 in the 200-meter individual medley after being ranked 117. She was only eight-tenths of a second off an Olympic trail time in the 50-meter freestyle.

Although she had a great week swimming, McIntyre remains modest about her accomplishments and is already looking toward the future.

“The things I wasn’t ready for this time, I’ll be ready for next time,” she said.

It’s just that focus that makes McLaren-Meur realize how special a swimmer McIntyre is.

“It’s her ambitions that have been able to achieve those time standards,” she said. “She’s always got her goals in the back of her head.”

Next up for McIntyre is the University of Texas Elite Swim Camp in July, where she will focus on training. She will then make her third trip to nationals Aug. 5-9, this time in College Park, Md.

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