Martha McCabe’s selection to the RBC Olympians program highlights the hard work she has done to become one of Canada’s best-known amateur athletes.
First and foremost, the Toronto native has the world-class performance to back up her status. McCabe finished fifth in the women’s 200-m breaststroke at the 2012 Olympics in London, a year after winning a bronze medal at the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai. She was a finalist at worlds again this summer, finishing eighth.
The personable 24-year-old is also an outstanding representative of the national team. She’s candid and at ease on camera or speaking in public, whether to a group of young students, or firing up her teammates at an international competition.
She was one of 47 current or former Olympians named to the RBC program Wednesday. As Paralympic legend and RBC Olympians veteran Benoit Huot says,
“she’s exactly what they’re looking for.”
The program will allow her to gain training and experience within various aspects of the company, while increasing her opportunities to share her story, including with groups of businesspeople. McCabe first cracked the national team for the 2009 world championships in Rome. But she says it’s the failures as much as the successes that have shaped her story.
“When I went to the 2008 Olympic Trials I thought I was going to make the team,” she recalls. “Looking back on that experience and figuring out what I learned from that and how I got better, sharing that story and learning how you can grow from the things you think are failures in your life, that’s the biggest part I guess.”
Despite her busy training schedule, McCabe has worked hard in the Canadian communities she has stayed in to train. McCabe trained at the National Swim Centre - Vancouver while studying kinesiology and health sciences at the University of British Columbia. She graduated in May 2012, and is now back in her native Toronto, training under Ben Titley at the National Swim Centre - Ontario.
“Being in Vancouver, I reached out to a whole bunch of B.C. swimmers,” she says. “Growing up in Ontario a lot of Ontario swimmers knew my name. Now I’m back trying my best to reach out and do camps in Ontario.” Most recently she took part in a weekend Future Stars camp in Borden, Ont., where she shared her story with 10- to 15-year-old swimmers and led training sessions in and out of the pool.
While McCabe continues to broaden her horizons, her focus is still on excelling on the world stage. She and her National Swim Centre - Ontario teammates are hard at work preparing for next year’s Trials to represent Canada at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland and Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Australia. The RBC program allows her to work on building a career after her swimming days are over, while working around the demands of training.
“That’s what’s so good about this program. If I’m going to be at a training camp for three weeks they totally understand that. They want to help us succeed (athletically) and help in life as well.”