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Canadian Olympic medal hopeful Margaret Mac Neil victorious, sets record at NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships

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GREENSBORO, North Carolina- World champion Maggie Mac Neil of London, Ont., won the gold medal and broke the NCAA record on Friday in the 100-yard butterfly at the NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships.

It was Mac Neil’s second top-three of the competition as she continued to show impressive form early in the Olympic season. On Thursday, the third-year psychology student at the University of Michigan notched a silver in the 50-yard freestyle, missing the gold by 0.04 seconds.

In the 100 fly, Mac Neil clocked 48.89 seconds eclipsing the previous NCAA mark of 49.26 set by Louise Hanson of USC in 2019. Kate Douglass of Virginia took second spot in 49.55 and Kylee Alons of North Carolina State was third in 50.35.

Going under 49 seconds was a big step for Mac Neil.

“Definitely not (expecting that fast),” Mac Neil told Swimming World Magazine ‘”It has been a goal of mine for a while, so it was amazing to achieve that, especially at NCAAs.”

The 21-year-old Canadian followed her strategy.

“Kate is such a great racer, so I knew she would be out fast, so my focus was challenging the first 25 and first 50. That is definitely showing that my front-end speed has improved. We have been through such a crazy year. Whatever happens this summer will be a miracle.”

Mac Neil had the fastest reaction time off the start as well as the fastest times on both lengths.

Mac Neil is also the second woman in history to break 50 seconds in both the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke which she did in leadoff in the 400-yard medley relay Thursday.

Back in 2019 at the FINA World Championships, Mac Neil burst on the international stage with a golden performance in the women’s 100-metre butterfly setting a Canadian and Americas record. She was Swimming Canada’s Breakout Swimmer of the Year that season.

Another Canadian reached a final on Friday as Sophie Angus, who races for Northwestern, took eighth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 59.04. This is her NCAA championships debut.

Competition ends Saturday.

Full results: