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Maggie MACNEIL
Sport Swimming
NOC Canada   
GenderWomen
Born26 Feb 2000 in Jiujiang, CHN
 Human Interest 
Further Personal Information
Residence
London, ON, CAN
Occupation
Athlete, Student
Languages
English
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming at age two and joined London Aquatic Club in Ontario, Canada, at age eight.
Why this sport?
She took up swimming to make friends and because she enjoyed the competition.
Club / Team
University of Michigan: Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Name of coach
Mike Bottom [club], USA; Ben Titley [national], GBR
General Interest
Nicknames
Mags, Maggers (swimming.ca, 08 Aug 2021)
Hobbies
Volleyball, playing the violin and clarinet, reading, sewing, travelling. (olympic.ca, 08 Aug 2021)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning a gold medal in the 100m butterfly at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (fina.org, 25 Oct 2021)
Hero / Idol
US swimmer Missy Franklin, Swedish swimmer Sarah Sjostrom. (olympic.ca, 08 Aug 2021; fina.org, 05 Dec 2019)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
Before a race, she splashes herself with water 15 times and kicks the back footplate on the starting block three times. (olympic.ca, 08 Aug 2021)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"The comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there." (Facebook profile, 01 Aug 2020)
Awards and honours
She was named Best Female Athlete of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo by the Association of National Olympic Committees [ANOC]. At the Games, she won one gold, one silver and one bronze medal. (fina.org, 25 Oct 2021)

While representing the University of Michigan [UM], she was named Collegiate Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Division I Swimmer of the Year for 2021. She has also been named Big Ten Conference Swimmer of the Year in both 2020 and 2021, Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year for 2019, and was Big Ten Swimmer of the Championships in 2020 and 2021. She was chosen as UM Female Athlete of the Year and was one of four finalists for the Honda Sports Award for swimming in 2020. (swimming.ca, 21 Mar 2021; mgoblue.com, 06 Mar 2021; mgoblue.com, 01 Sep 2019)

She received the Canadian Female Swimmer of the Year and NCAA Female Swimmer of the Year awards from swimming website SwimSwam in its 2021 Swammy Awards. In 2019 she was named Canadian Female Swimmer of the Year and Breakout Swimmer of the Year in the Swammy Awards. (swimswam.com, 22 Dec 2021, 29 Dec 2019, 01 Sep 2019)
Other information
ASTHMA CHANGES DISTANCE FOCUS
She was diagnosed with sports-induced asthma after competing at the 2017 World Cup in Singapore, and subsequently began focusing on shorter distance events. "It was so humid in Singapore I couldn't breathe. I got home and finally went to a respirologist and found out I have sports-induced asthma, which can be worse with chlorine exposure." Looking for a way to overcome the asthma, she began focusing on shorter distances and worked with a specialist to find the right balance of medication. "I've got what works for me now, and I've focused on sprinting and gotten better. I don't see myself focusing on longer races again because sprinting is working out pretty well." (fina.org, 05 Dec 2019)

UNEXPECTED WORLD TITLE
She beat her idol, Swedish swimmer Sarah Sjostrom, on her way to winning gold in the final of the 100m butterfly at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, Republic of Korea. "Zero per cent of me thought that [winning gold] was possible. I just thought it would be cool to get a medal. Gold was never in the cards. I don't want to say I counted it out, but I never thought I was going to win." At first she didn't realise she had won the race because she doesn't wear contact lenses when she swims, and couldn't see the results clearly on the scoreboard. "Emma McKeon was the one that told me, because I couldn't see." (swimmingworldmagazine.com, 03 Jan 2020; fina.org, 05 Dec 2019)

YOUNG RELAY TEAM
At age 19 years and 145 days she was the oldest member of the Canadian 4x100m freestyle relay team that won a bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, Republic of Korea. Her teammates in the final were Kayla Sanchez [18 years and 105 days], Penny Oleksiak [19 years and 38 days] and Taylor Ruck [19 years and 54 days]. "We were the only [4x100m freestyle relay] team where every member was under 20. That definitely bodes well for 2020 and 2024 [Olympic Games], and if the youngsters keep improving, 2028 and beyond. It is incredible. Our average age was 18.75." (swimmingworldmagazine.com, 03 Jan 2020)

ADOPTION
She was born in Jiujiang, People's Republic of China. At age one, she and her younger sister were adopted from an orphanage by Canadian parents Edward MacNeil and Susan McNair, and began living in London, ON, Canada. (globalnews.ca, 02 Aug 2021; cnn.com, 28 Jul 2021; sg.news.yahoo.com, 27 Jul 2021)

 Competition Highlights
Olympic Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
1 2021 Tokyo, JPN 100m Butterfly 55.59
2 2021 Tokyo, JPN 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 3:32.78
3 2021 Tokyo, JPN 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:52.60
World Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
2 2022 Budapest, HUN 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 3:32.15
3 2022 Budapest, HUN 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:55.01
2 2022 Budapest, HUN 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay  
Semifinal 2019 Gwangju, KOR 50m Butterfly 26.28
1 2019 Gwangju, KOR 100m Butterfly 55.83
3 2019 Gwangju, KOR 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 3:31.78
3 2019 Gwangju, KOR 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:53.58
4 2019 Gwangju, KOR 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay  
5 2019 Gwangju, KOR 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:43.06
World Championships Short Course
Rank Year Venue Event Result
1 2021 Abu Dhabi, UAE 100m Butterfly 55.04
Heats 2021 Abu Dhabi, UAE 100m Backstroke 57.42
Heats 2021 Abu Dhabi, UAE 50m Butterfly  DNS
1 2021 Abu Dhabi, UAE 50m Backstroke 25.27
1 2021 Abu Dhabi, UAE 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 3:28.52
2 2021 Abu Dhabi, UAE 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:47.36
6 2021 Abu Dhabi, UAE 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay 1:35.87
4 2021 Abu Dhabi, UAE 4 x 50m Medley Relay 1:44.16
1 2021 Abu Dhabi, UAE 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay 1:28.55
World Cup
Rank Year Venue Event Result
27 2021   Overall Ranking  
4 2021 Berlin, GER 100m Individual Medley 1:00.12
2 2021 Berlin, GER 100m Backstroke 56.16
1 2021 Berlin, GER 100m Butterfly 55.30
2 2021 Berlin, GER 50m Backstroke 25.84
3 2021 Berlin, GER 50m Butterfly 25.13