Mary T. Meagher
Meagher retired from competitive swimming soon after the 1988 Olympics with her world records intact. She worked at a bank in her native Louisville and then worked in private business through 1991. That year, she served as an athletes' representative for the U.S. Olympic Committee. When the Olympic Games were held in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1993, she was asked to be a flag bearer during the opening ceremonies. She lives in the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City, Georgia, with her husband, sports executive Michael Plant—a former U.S. Olympic speed skater—and their two children, Andrew and Madeline, whom she has taught to swim.
In May 2000, on hearing that Susan O'Neill had finally broken her 200-meter butterfly record and earned the nickname "Madame Butterfly" in her place, Mary T. Meagher Plant said, "You couldn't ask for a nicer, more deserving person to break your record than Susie." However, Plant said she still believes she could have completed the 200-meter in 2 minutes, 4 seconds. "When I did 2:05, the last 25 meters felt real easy," she told the Los Angeles Times. "At the finish, I thought, 'I'm not tired, I could have kept going.'"
Mary T. Meagher was a gifted swimmer whose speed and strength in the butterfly were unparalleled during her career and for many years afterward. Dennis Pursley, one of her former coaches, said that Meagher had no weaknesses in her prime. He told Sports Illustrated for Women, "Motivation, technique, physical attributes—I don't know that I've ever seen an athlete who didn't have a weakness on that list—except Mary."
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