GREENSBORO, North Carolina – World champion Maggie Mac Neil of London, Ont., capped a very successful NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships on Saturday winning the gold medal in the 100-yard freestyle in a pool record and personal best time.
It was the third medal of the competition for the 21-year-old Canadian swimming for the University of Michigan. On Friday, she broke the NCAA record en route to gold in the 100-yard butterfly while on Thursday she took silver in the 50-yard freestyle.
In Saturday’s 100 free, Mac Neil clocked a pool record 46.02 seconds which was the third fastest time ever. The previous pool mark of 46.09 was held by American 2016 co- Olympic champion (with Canada’s Penny Oleksiak) Simone Manuel.
Kate Douglass of Virginia, the leader at 50 yards settled for second in 46.30, while Isabel Ivey of California third in 46.95. Douglass won the 50 free and was second to Mac Neil in the 100 fly so the 100 free was built up as the rubber match between the two rivals.
Even though she was behind early on, Mac Neil was more pleased with the first part of her race.
“My front end speed was something I was really focused on for tonight’s final,” she told Swimming Canada. “I knew that if I could get off to a solid start I would have the strength in the back end to take a shot for the gold.”
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.
Later Saturday, Mac Neil was Michigan’s lead-off swimmer in the 4X100-yard freestyle relay. She clocked 46.94 on her relay as her foursome placed eighth. Michigan ranked sixth in the team standings.
“With everything we went through this year because of Covid we are over the moon with our team performance,” she said.
The third-year psychology student currently ranks fifth or better all-time across four different NCAA events: 100 fly (#1), 100 free (#3), 50 free (tied #4), 100 back (#5). She is also the fastest in history in the 50 back, an event not generally contested in collegiate competition, after going 23.02 at Big Tens.
Next up for Mac Neil are the Canadian Olympic Trials May 24-28 in Toronto.
“It was really great for me to get back into some competition before the trials,” she said. “Some of these racers could be my opponents at the Games. The fact that I had a lot success this weekend gives me a lot of confidence.”
Olivia Anderson of Mississauga, Ont., and swimming for the University of Georgia ranked 10th in the 1,650-yard freestyle.
Full results: https://swimmeetresults.tech/NCAA-Division-I-Women-2021/