World championship medallist and Olympic finallist Martha McCabe will be rejoining world-renowned breaststroke coach Jozsef Nagy in Vancouver.
McCabe has decided to return to the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Vancouver as she continues her quest to step on the Olympic podium in the 200-m breaststroke. She won bronze in the event at the 2011 FINA World Championships, and finished fifth at the London 2012 Olympic Games under Nagy’s tutelage.
After London, McCabe returned to her native Toronto, where she has been training at the High Performance Centre – Ontario under Ben Titley.
“Coming back was exactly what I needed after the last quadrennial and I have only gained from the past three years. I’ve learned so much from Ben and physically gotten stronger,” said McCabe, who took silver in the 200 at this summer’s Pan Am Games, and finished 21st at worlds.
“It will be pretty hard to leave Ben and the group. It’s been an amazing three years,” she said. “Ben’s creativity and the way he comes on deck with such high energy, everything has just been great.”
“The network of Swimming Canada training programs work closely through their coaches to provide each athlete with the optimal world-class daily training environment,” Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson said. “Martha moving from Toronto to Vancouver shows how this works in practice with the centres and coaches working together in the best interests of the athlete.”
"We in Vancouver are honoured and looking forward to having Martha in the centre program for her Olympic preparation year,” said HPC – Vancouver Head Coach Tom Johnson. “As an Olympic finalist in 2012 and long time senior national team member we feel privileged to work with Martha to help her work towards her 2016 goals."
Nagy was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2013 in recognition of his innovations and contributions to the sport. The Hungary native is credited as the inventor of the wave breaststroke. He guided Canada’s Annamay Pierse to three world record performances and a silver medal at the 2009 FINA World Championships.
“I think it’s a very positive thing,” Titley said. “Being with Jozsef is the best place for her. "If we are serious about maximizing the potential of our best athletes and their success on the international scene, then it’s important we direct them to the best coaching situation for them and their chosen events. For Martha and for the 200 breaststroke, that clearly means being with Jozsef. That’s his event, that’s his passion. Her professionalism and approach to the sport will be a huge benefit to the other athletes in the program, and we wish her every success. She knows we are here to help her be the best she can be, both as an athlete and a young woman."
Nagy’s top pupils besides Pierse have included world champion and Olympic medallist Norbert Rozsa of Hungary, 1988 Olympic medallist Sergio Lopez of Spain, and American superstar Mike Barrowman, who broke six world records between 1989 and 1992 in the 200-m breaststroke. Barrowman was the first swimmer to perfect “the wave” and his record stood for more than a decade after the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
“Joe’s passion, behind the 200 breaststroke specifically, is unmatched by anyone else,” McCabe said. “He is the best match and for this final year it’s what I need.”