Brittany MacLean is the No. 1 seed in the 200 metre freestyle at the National trials.

Swimmer MacLean looks past her injuries

Staying healthy key to finding a spot in the Pan Am Games

Canadian swimmer Brittany MacLean is hoping to remain healthy and injury-free as she prepares for the National Swim Trials April 1-4.

The 21-year-old already has an extensive resume, with one of her highlights being a seventh place finish in the Women’s 400 metre freestyle at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

In a Monday interview at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, the young athlete opened up about some of her concerns for the future.

“I am not fully injury-free. I have a lot of issues that are ongoing,” said MacLean. “I have a tear in my shoulder ligament, and that is the kind of thing that is not going to completely go away when I’m swimming so I have learned to manage it.

“But this year has been a bit more challenging than some.”

The University of Georgia junior says she goes to rehab every day.

“I have exercises that I need to do,” said MacLean. “It’s just about maintenance and keeping the discipline with your treatment, and if you’re on top of it, then hopefully your body can respond well.”

After a strong performance in the 2012 Olympics, the Etobicoke native tries to look at everything in perspective and hopes to make the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“You have to take it year by year, focusing on the little things to try to make you better, but I still know that I have a lot left in me,” said MacLean.

“It was really unexpected for me to make the Olympic final in the first place. I would just like to improve on what I did there, so just work as hard as I can and get there.”

Kevin Thorburn, MacLean’s coach from the Etobicoke Swim Club, says her freshman year in Georgia was difficult.

“Her first year in college was not that successful for her because of the shoulder injury, but she came back at the end of the summer and became NCAA swimmer of the year and Canadian swimmer of the year,” said Thorburn.

However, the injuries did not stop there.

“Starting this past fall, the injuries have come back up just like with the shoulder, and she has a hamstring issue,” said Thorburn. “She made one final just recently in the NCAAs and was ninth in an event that she holds the record in, so she is not happy with that, but she is not way off.

“The plan is to get really regenerated with the summer coming up – try a little more of a break than before to go into the Olympic year.”

MacLean’s response to these past performances is simple.

“My goal is to always find something within the race that I can take and work on – you have to just take what you get and keep moving forward.”

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