Maggie Mac Neil swims to 100-metre butterfly gold, sets Canadian record

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Maggie Mac Neil has set another record at the FINA world short course swimming championships.

Mac Neil won gold in the women’s 100-metre butterfly on Tuesday with a Canadian record time of 55.04 seconds. The new Canadian mark in the 100 butterfly comes a day after Mac Neil set a world record in the 50-backstroke.

She was fourth at the halfway mark of the butterfly final but roared back for the win. Sweden's Louise Hansson was second in 55.10 and Claire Curzan of the United States was third in 55.39.

"That was the most stressful race I’ve done all year," said Mac Neil, who also holds the Olympic and long-course world championship titles in the 100 fly. "I knew it was going to be a close race."

Mac Neil, who is from London, Ont., also earned a silver medal in the women’s 4x100 medley on Tuesday. The Canadian team of Mac Neil, Kylie Masse, Sydney Pickrem and Kayla Sanchez set a new national record in the event with a time of three minutes 47.36 seconds.

“I was weirdly calm,” said Sanchez, about her freestyle leg. “I knew to stay relaxed in the first 50 and if it came down to the last bit, I knew I would have something. I saw in the last 25 metres I would have to fight for it. I was happy to see the result and do well for my teammates.”

Katerine Savard and Summer McIntosh swam in the preliminaries and will also receive a medal.

Fellow Canadian Josh Liendo claimed bronze in the men’s 100-metre freestyle in 45.82

The short-course championships are held in a 25-metre pool, as opposed to Olympic or world aquatic championship swimming, which is held in a 50-metre pool.

Canada finished the world championships with seven gold, six silver, and two bronze.

John Atkinson, director of high performance and national coach for Swimming Canada, said he was pleased with his team's performance at the championships.

“From Day 1 to Day 6 we were competitive through the whole event,” he said. “That’s down to the work ethic and the professionalism of our athletes, coaches, and of our support staff, working every minute in the prelims and finals to get the best support for the athletes.

"The athletes have had a fantastic set of performances here and it sets everybody up for what comes in 2022 with the major Games and championships we have coming up.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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