Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for December 12, 2013

UVic banner-raising ceremony honours Downing

MacKenzie Downing’s storied swimming career has come full circle.

By Marcel Vander Wier on December 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm


Photo submitted

A WORTHY HONOUR – Recently-retired Whitehorse swimmer MacKenzie Downing, right, smiles as her banner is revealed by her former coach Peter Vizsolyi. Photo by SIMON BLAKESLEY

MacKenzie Downing’s storied swimming career has come full circle.

The recently-retired Whitehorse swimmer was inducted into the University of Victoria’s swimming Platinum Circle of Excellence Saturday during the 11th annual Christmas Cracker swim meet at Saanich Commonwealth Place.

The 27-year-old announced her retirement from competitive swimming in May.

Downing is among the all-time Vikes leaders with 17 CIS medals in her UVic career.

Downing began attending the university in September 2004, and alongside her studies of the classics and archaeology, she quickly made a splash in the pool.

She was named the University of Victoria Female Athlete of the Year in both 2007 and 2008. 

Her accomplishments in the pool translated to her life as a student, where she achieved a 9.0 G.P.A. in 2008. As a result, Downing was honoured with the prestigious UVIC President’s Cup in 2008 for combined athletic and scholastic success.

“I had just been injured and so I was a bit of a wreck,” Downing noted in an interview with Vikes Communications about her arrival at the university. “UVic brought me back into a positive frame of mind and really brought me up to the international level.”

On the international stage, Downing competed at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne, the Pan Pacific Championships in 2006 and 2010, the Commonwealth Games in 2010, and the World Student Games in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011.

At the 2007 FISU World Student Games, She earned a gold in the 100 Butterfly in Canadian record time, silver in the 200 Butterfly, and bronze Medal in the 4x100 Medley Relay.

As a result of these performances she was named the flagbearer for team Canada at the 2011 FISU Games.   

Currently the Communications Coordinator for Citius Performance Corp., Downing will pursue a Masters of Science in Osteoarcheology from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland starting next fall.

As a retired member of a Canadian world championship team, Downing becomes the newest member of the University of Victoria swimming Platinum Circle of Excellence.

Downing said the banner-raising ceremony was somewhat of a surprise to her.

“All the retired Vikes athletes who’ve competed at a high level are inducted into the circle,” she explained. “But I haven’t been in the pool at UVic in a while, so it kind of slipped my mind.”

Platinum is the highest level of honour a former Vikes athlete can achieve.

Downing also met with Whitehorse Glacier Bears athletes who were in Victoria for the Christmas Cracker meet.

“They were really excited to see me and it was good to see them,” Downing said. “A lot of people that I raced with were there as well, so it was good to see them.”

Seventeen local swimmers competed at the meet. See tomorrow’s Star for details.

– With files by Vikes Communications

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