Mac Neil captures women's 50-yard freestyle event in record fashion at NCAA meet

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Canada's Maggie Mac Neil captured the women's 50-yard freestyle event in record fashion Thursday night at the NCAA swimming championship.

Mac Neil, of London, Ont., won the event in an NCAA-record time of 20.79 seconds at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center. That broke the previous mark of 20.83 seconds, set by Gretchen Walsh last month.

Mac Neil's swim was also a U.S. Open record.

However, Walsh retains the American mark at 20.83 second as Mac Neil, a three-time Olympic medallist, is Canadian.

"It feels so good," Mac Neil said. "I definitely wanted to go a best time tonight.

"The 50 free is kind of a fun event for me and I don’t feel a lot of pressure. I think I just went in with a clear head and was ready to see what I could do.”

Mac Neil was also part of Louisiana State’s fifth-place 200-yard free relay Thursday.

Mac Neil will be looking to regain her NCAA crown in her signature 100-yard butterfly Friday. The 2021 champion took bronze at last year’s event in Atlanta.

Also on Friday, Canadians Taylor Ruck and Brooklyn Douthwright will go head-to-head in the 200-yard freestyle field. Four-time Olympic medallist Ruck, of Kelowna, B.C., is the defending champion, while Douthwright, of Riverview, N.B., enters as the fastest seed fresh off her SEC title.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2023.

The Canadian Press