Mary T. Meagher
"the Butterfly Picked Me"
Mary Terstegge Meagher was born October 27, 1964, in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of Jim and Floy Terstegge Meagher. She grew up with nine sisters and one brother. One of her sisters was Mary Glen, so Mary was called Mary T.—or simply "T." She began swimming at age five, and by age twelve she had a world-class butterfly stroke. It came naturally, she said. She didn't pick the butterfly—it picked her.
Nicknamed Fishy by her school friends, at age fourteen, Mary began winning national and international titles. In 1979, as an eighth grader, she beat the world record of 2:09.77 in the 200-meter butterfly by .1 second at the Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The world could hardly believe that a fresh-faced teen with braces and a stuffed frog named Bubbles could swim so fast.