Mary T. Meagher

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Mary T. Meagher
Mary T Meagher 1984.jpg
Meagher in 1984
Personal information
Full nameMary Terstegge Meagher
Nickname(s)"Mary T.", "Madam Butterfly"[1]
National teamUnited States
Born (1964-10-27) October 27, 1964 (age 57)
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.[2]
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight141 lb (64 kg)
Sport
SportSwimming
StrokesButterfly, freestyle
College teamUniversity of California, Berkeley
Medal record
Women's swimming
Representing the United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1984 Los Angeles 100 m butterfly
Gold medal – first place 1984 Los Angeles 200 m butterfly
Gold medal – first place 1984 Los Angeles 4x100 m medley
Bronze medal – third place 1988 Seoul 200 m butterfly
World Championships (LC)
Gold medal – first place 1982 Guayaquil 100 m butterfly
Gold medal – first place 1986 Madrid 200 m butterfly
Silver medal – second place 1982 Guayaquil 200 m butterfly
Silver medal – second place 1982 Guayaquil 4x100 m medley
Silver medal – second place 1986 Madrid 4x100 m freestyle
Silver medal – second place 1986 Madrid 4x200 m freestyle
Silver medal – second place 1986 Madrid 4x100 m medley
Bronze medal – third place 1986 Madrid 100 m butterfly
Bronze medal – third place 1986 Madrid 200 m freestyle
Pan American Games
Gold medal – first place 1979 San Juan 100 m butterfly
Gold medal – first place 1983 Caracas 200 m butterfly
Summer Universiade
Gold medal – first place 1985 Kobe 100 m butterfly
Gold medal – first place 1985 Kobe 200 m butterfly
Gold medal – first place 1985 Kobe 4x200 m freestyle
Gold medal – first place 1985 Kobe 4x100 m medley
Silver medal – second place 1985 Kobe 200 m freestyle
Pan Pacific Championships
Gold medal – first place 1985 Tokyo 100 m butterfly
Gold medal – first place 1985 Tokyo 200 m butterfly

Mary Terstegge Meagher Plant (born October 27, 1964) is an American former competition swimmer, Olympic champion, and world record-holder. In 1981 she bettered her own existing world records in the 100-meter butterfly (57.93) and 200-meter butterfly (2:05.96). These times would stand as the respective world records for 18 and 19 years, and are considered to be among the greatest sports performances ever.[3]

Early life[edit]

Meagher is the daughter of two-time Notre Dame basketball letterman James L. Meagher. She was a competitive athlete from an early age. At the 1979 Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she set her first world record—at the age of 14—in the 200-meter butterfly. "When she was a teenager, Mary showed no weaknesses," reflected Dennis Pursley, one of her early coaches. "Every athlete I've ever known had some form of weakness, be it in terms of motivation, technique or physical attributes, but Mary was the exception."[4] She graduated from the Sacred Heart Academy high school in Louisville, Kentucky, alongside her sister, future U.S. Representative Anne Northup.

1980 Boycott and on[edit]

Meagher was expected to compete for medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Russia. However, Meagher, along with the rest of the United States Olympic team, never got her chance due to the American-led boycott of the Moscow Olympics.

However, in 1981 Meagher gave one of the most memorable performances in competitive swimming at the U.S. Swimming National Championships held in Brown Deer, Wisconsin in 1981. At the meet, Meagher set world records in both the 200-meter and 100-meter butterfly, the two primary distances at which the butterfly is contested in competitive swimming. The times for both records were considered astonishing, especially the record of 57.93 seconds that Meagher set in the 100-meters—a drop of over a second. Both times would stand as the world records for nearly two decades: American swimmer Jenny Thompson lowered the 100-meter record in 1999, while Susie O'Neill of Australia set the record in the 200-meter a year later. Some have argued that Meagher's records in the butterfly were among the most impressive records ever set in sport, let alone swimming, ranking among such noteworthy records as Bob Beamon's long jump world record in 1968. These two swims led Meagher to being named Female World Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine, which she again won in 1985.

Meagher attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she swam for the California Golden Bears swimming and diving team in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Pacific-10 Conference competition. She received the Honda Sports Award for Swimming and Diving twice, recognizing her as the outstanding college female swimmer of the year in 1984–85 and again in 1986–87.[5][6] In 1987, she also won the Honda Broderick Cup as the nation's top female collegiate athlete.[7][8] She graduated from the University of California in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in social sciences.

At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Meagher won gold medals in both the 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly races, along with another gold by swimming the butterfly leg of the women's 4×100-meter medley relay for the winning U.S. team in the event final. Returning to compete at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Meagher won a bronze medal in the 200-meter butterfly. By the time she left competitive swimming, Meagher had won 24 U.S. national swimming titles.

Personal life[edit]

Meagher was the 10th of 11 siblings.[4] She married former speed skater Mike Plant. They now live in Peachtree City, Georgia, with their two children, Maddie and Drew. Mike Plant's brother and Meagher's brother-in-law, Tom Plant, was also a speed skater and Olympian. Meagher's older sister Anne Meagher Northup served as a US Congresswoman.[2]

In Louisville a swimming complex is named for Meagher, and a street is named in her honor in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mary T. Meagher (USA) – 1993 Honor Swimmer". ISHOF.org. International Swimming Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on April 11, 2015. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Mary T. Meagher". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016.
  3. ^ "CNNSI.com's 100 Greatest Women Athletes". sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Archived from the original on August 5, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2005.
  4. ^ a b "Mary T. MEAGHER - Olympic Swimming | United States of America". International Olympic Committee. January 18, 2017. Archived from the original on March 4, 2018. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  5. ^ "Past Honda Sports Award Winners for Swimming & Diving". CollegiateWomenSportsAwards.com. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  6. ^ "BACK IN THE SWIM : Mary T. Meagher Resumes Her Pursuit of Olympic Medals". Los Angeles Times. January 19, 1988. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  7. ^ "Mary T. Meagher (1992) - California Athletics Hall of Fame". University of California Golden Bears Athletics. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  8. ^ "Past Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year Winners (Honda Cup)". CollegiateWomenSportsAwards.com. Retrieved March 24, 2020.

External links[edit]


Records
Preceded by Women's 100-meter butterfly
world record-holder

April 11, 1980 – August 23, 1999
Succeeded by
Preceded by Women's 200-meter butterfly
world record-holder

July 7, 1979 – May 17, 2000
Succeeded by
Awards
Preceded by Swimming World
World Swimmer of the Year

1981
Succeeded by
Preceded by Swimming World
World Swimmer of the Year

1985
Succeeded by
Preceded by Swimming World
American Swimmer of the Year

1985
Succeeded by