Another accomplishment for London, Ont., swimmer Maggie MacNeil

Maggie MacNeil swims to victory in her heat of the Woman 100 Meter Butterfly during the 2020 Toyota US Open Championship -Indianapolis on Nov. 13, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Maggie MacNeil of London, Ont., swam the 100-yard butterfly in 48.89 seconds on Friday night becoming the first woman ever to break 49 seconds in the event.

The butterfly has been a swimming stroke since the 1930s. It was invented at about the same time as sliced bread and scotch tape.

MacNeil, who attends the University of Michigan, broke both the NCAA and U.S. Open record at the 2021 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Greensboro, N.C.

The only thing that kept the 21-year old out of the world record conversation was the metric system.

International swimming events are measured in metres and not yards.

The Canadian Olympic Trials take place at the end of May.

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MacNeil has also set a goal of trying to make one of the relay teams for Team Canada.

In an interview with 980 CFPL in February, she admitted that the past year has been challenging but found a silver lining in it at the same time.

“I think overall this is making me a better person and a better athlete and the characteristics I have found in myself over the last year will help me.”

The world records in the women’s 100m butterfly are held by Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden who owns both the long course and short course marks. Sjostrom swam it in 55.48 seconds at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. She and MacNeil went head-to-head at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea and MacNeil pulled off a surprising upset by winning gold.

If that was MacNeil’s arrival on the world stage in her sport, Friday’s performance was a warning shot as Olympic trials approach. The Olympic Games themselves are still being planned for July 23 to Aug. 8 in Tokyo, Japan.

Provided those plans become a reality, MacNeil may have the opportunity to challenge the world’s best in an event where she is already cementing her mark as one of the best in the world.


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