Zach McGinnis

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Zach McGinnis began swimming competitively at age 6, following in his two older brothers’ wake. Matt swam for the University of Texas and was an American record holder and world champion. Eric was Zach’s teammate at the University of Kentucky and a seven-time All-American and World University Games gold medalist.

Zach’s journey has had many setbacks. In 2006, during his sophomore year at Ravenscroft High School, Zach suffered a torn labrum in his left and right shoulders, resulting in surgeries that sidelined him for a year. After returning to the pool, his injury history and uncompetitive times left him lightly recruited. Zach signed with University of Kentucky in fall 2009.

After a successful freshman campaign, Zach transferred to Virginia Tech in 2010, where he became one of the most successful swimmers in school history. During his junior season, Zach won his first Atlantic Coast Conference title in the men’s 100-yard backstroke and All-American Honorable mention honors in the men’s 200-yard backstroke at the 2012 NCAA Championships.

Going into his senior season, Zach was considered one of the top backstrokers in the country. In 2013, he was diagnosed with epilepsy. Immediately following, Zach posted the fastest time in the country in the men’s 100-yard backstroke at the H2Okie Fall Invitational. He ended his season with five medals: an Atlantic Coast Conference title and record in the men’s 4x100 medley relay and four All-American Honorable Mentions at the NCAA Championships. 

Zach launched his professional swimming career in 2013 and currently trains in Miami, Fla., while representing the New York Athletic Club. Most recently, Zach became a 2016 Olympic Trials qualifier.

TIME OUT: 10 Questions with Zach McGinnis