MacKinnon's crazy for swimming


Feb. 13, 2003, midnight | By Julia Gabriel | 17 years, 11 months ago


Blair's boys' swim team is undefeated and sits atop Division I, and senior Ian MacKinnon can beat everyone on the team in three out of four strokes. At 5'11" and 170 pounds, he is Blair's fastest and most versatile swimmer.

Taking first place in every individual event this season, MacKinnon is an inspiration for fellow teammates. "He's an excellent role model in his self-discipline and overall attitude towards the sport," says Coach David Swaney. Swaney believes that MacKinnon is the best swimmer to come out of Blair's team in the five years he has been coaching.

MacKinnon started swimming at age six and joined the competitive Rockville Montgomery Swim Club (RMSC) when he was 14. After attending Sandy Spring Friends School in ninth grade, he transferred to Blair and joined the swim team. Between school and RMSC, MacKinnon maintains a rigorous schedule of six or seven two-hour practices per week.

Among MacKinnon's recent accomplishments are 2002-2003 Blair records in the 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke and two relays. MacKinnon earned second place in the 100-yard butterfly and backstroke at Counties and ranked sixth in the Junior Olympics last year in backstroke. MacKinnon placed first in 100-yard backstroke and second in 50-yard freestyle at this year's Division I championship on Feb 8.

Senior co-captain Pete Johnson calls MacKinnon a remarkable teammate. "He's just amazing to watch because he's so fast," Johnson says. Johnson is also grateful for MacKinnon's modesty, jokingly adding that MacKinnon "doesn't rub his fastness in your face."

But when it comes to getting his game face on, MacKinnon has strong focus. "I may be friends with someone I swim against, but when I get in the pool, all I want to do is whoop them," he says. "I have the mindset that if I work hard, I can beat anyone I want."

Aside from preparing mentally, MacKinnon gears up for matches with a razor: Before important meets, he shaves his legs for a better glide through the pool. "It usually takes me about six tries; I'm not very good at it," he says with a smile.

His athletic talent and 3.5 GPA have earned MacKinnon much attention from colleges. He hopes to swim in college, and Drexel University has already offered him a swimming scholarship.



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Julia Gabriel. My name is Julia, but some people call me moonpie. I have lived in Silver Spring all my life and one day I hope to live in Colorado. I have two sisters, two parents and one dog. Occasionally I have a hamster but they tend … More »

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