“Special Olympics taught me how to make new friends and taught me how to be a champion.” – Team Canada swimmer Jordan MacLeod.
Jordan MacLeod is a champion in the pool and also a champion of inclusion.
Last year Special Olympics celebrated 50 years of empowerment through sport and the next five years will focus on making inclusion a global reality.
“It taught a bunch of athletes and everybody about our abilities,” said Jordan.
At eight years old Jordan had a dream to become a champion in swimming and she has achieved this goal at every level she has competed at.
She will now have the chance to represent Canada at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games from March 14 to March 21 in Abu Dhabi.
“I was very happy to be picked to Team Canada,” said Jordan. “I want to show my family and relatives what I am made of.”
The road to the World Games for Jordan began at the Special Olympics Alberta Summer Games in Medicine Hat where she earned a spot on Team Alberta (TAB).
She competed in her first Nationals at the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Antigonish, earning three gold medals in the 100m backstroke (F2), 200m backstroke (F2), 50m freestyle (F5), along with a bronze in the team relay event.
“My favourite memory I have in swimming is being with my teammates and coaches,” said Jordan. “My favourite moment [was] standing on top of the podium and getting three gold medals!”
The 26-year-old is a swimmer and bowler with Special Olympics Alberta – Calgary where she is currently training for the World Games.
Jordan swims four times per week where she is constantly looking to improve her technique and personal bests. She also works out at the YMCA gym doing dryland training.
One of the things that has helped Jordan reach her potential in the pool is visualization.
She has signs in her room to help get her head in the game and she also meditates.
She advocated that rest is equally as important as her training.
“I try to keep a healthy lifestyle by eating the right amount of foods and portion sizes, [which] I learned about that at my first training camp in Toronto,” said Jordan.
Jordan stated that the Worlds training camps were quite informative, but that she was nervous because she wanted to do well.
Nutrition and rest were two of her key takeaways from the training camp and she plans to employ what she learned as she enters the last stretch of her training.
She has her head in the game and will be a force to be reckoned with when she hits the pool in March.
Jordan is a role model for other athletes and she believes anyone looking to join the Special Olympics family should dive in.
“Well I would help other athletes not to be nervous about joining Special Olympics and to encourage them because I would want them to have the opportunities and to not miss out on competing.”
Best of luck to all of our Team Canada athletes from Special Olympics Alberta!
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Update: Jordan did indeed make a splash at Worlds winning a gold in women's 4x50m freestyle relay, a silver in the 200m backstroke, 4th in the 100m backstroke, and 5th in the 100m freestyle.