Mary T. Meagher
- Category : Sports-Swimming
- Type : GE
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (22)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Unexpected 3
American swimmer and champion butterfly record holder. On 8/04/1984, Meagher dazzled the Los Angeles audience with her Gold Medal Olympic win for the 100 meter butterfly. Two days later, on 8/06/1984, she triumphed, taking home the Gold Medal for the 200 meter butterfly. She won the gold in the women's 400 meter relay. An easy-going extrovert, Meagher had broken her own butterfly record seven times throughout her swimming career.
Meagher grew up swimming in a pool near her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. As the ninth child in a family of eleven children, Meagher was watched over by many of her nine sisters and one brother. Her dad, Jim Meagher, was chairman of the board for a hardware distribution firm and her mom, Flo Meagher, raised her large family, driving the kids to the River Road Country Club swim team during the summer. At the age of five, Mary began breaking swimming records. At seven, she saw a senior swimmer doing the butterfly stroke. The young girl immediately became intrigued and began to imitate the stroke without swimming instructions. At seven, she began to win 10-and-under butterfly races and by the time she was 11, she participated in swimming meets, returning home with trophies spilling out of her towel. Her butterfly stroke was clean and effortless and she cleaned up at her competitions without realizing how good she was.
In 1980, Meagher held the 200-meter world record. After the disappointing letdown of the U.S. team boycott of the 1980 Olympics, she reigned supreme in 1981. At the U.S. Nationals, she bettered both the 100 and 200 meter butterfly world records within a couple of days, trimming an incredible 1.33 seconds off her mark in the 100 meter event. She flabbergasted the experts with her invincible swimming.
In 1982, Meagher enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley. After growing up in an all-girl parochial school in Louisville, the change to a coed campus with coed dorms changed her social life. She ate pizzas and candy bars, disregarding her sports diet. At 19, she trained for the 1984 Olympics in terrible shape at 15 lbs overweight. In 1984, her Mission Viejo coach, Mark Schubert kept her in the pool 45 minutes over practice daily to knock off her excess weight. Meagher had a high pain threshold and was able to push herself to practice limits most athletes would not go. Despite the distress, Meagher slimmed down and challenged her opponents during the 1984 Olympic trials. After her victories in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, she still holds the 100 meter butterfly record since 1985.
Meagher started dating as a freshman at UC Berkeley. Her optimism and team pep talks made her a favorite among her teammates. As she was introduced to the crowds, the audience cheered long and loud for the good-looking and good-natured athlete. In 1984, she became more aware of her appearance, taking time to find clothes that flattered her broad shoulders and athletic build. Coming for a large family, Meagher wanted to have her own large family, but for five kids rather than eleven.