The family and former coach of a London, Ont., swimmer says they couldn’t be more proud of her achievements at the Tokyo Olympics.
Maggie Mac Neil, 21, won a trio of medals, one of each kind.
Her mother, Susan McNair, says she’s lost for words when describing the excitement she’s feeling.
“I don’t think I have any feeling to compare it to… The silver in the relay was overwhelming enough, but then the gold was really indescribable and to top it off, the bronze was so exciting.”
Mac Neil was part of the team that won silver in women’s 4x100m freestyle relay on July 24. Her teammates were Penny Oleksiak, Rebecca Smith and Kayla Sanchez.
The Londoner then won Canada’s first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics during the women’s 100m butterfly on July 25, where she set a new Canadian swimming record at 55.59 seconds.
Then on July 31, Mac Neil along with Penny Oleksiak, Sydney Pickrem and Kylie Masse won bronze in women’s 4x100m medley relay.
“Watching the girls and the relay is a great deal of fun,” McNair said, adding that the past couple of weeks have been “one with anticipation and excitement mixed in with a bit of anxiety.”
Mac Neil’s former coach, Andrew Craven, praised the swimmer and her continuous dedication to the sport.
“She’s always had a tremendous work ethic… She always arrived at the pool even before the coaches,” he said.
Craven, the head coach at the London Aquatic Club, coached Mac Neil from 2013 when she was 13 years old to 2018 when she graduated out of the club and headed to Michigan for university.
“Maggie calls herself a swimming nerd. She’s very determined and if she sets her mind to something, there’s very little that will get in her way of achieving that,” he added.
Mac Neil is set to return home to London Monday afternoon.
Her mother says the family is heading to Toronto’s Pearson airport with “a bunch of Canadian flags in our hands.”
“We’re going to bring her home and I think the first thing she wants to do is have a great, big, long sleep and a bowl of her favourite ice cream. I think those were her only two requests,” McNair chuckled.
“Some of our immediate family will drop by and we’re going to sit down with her in the next few days and ask what kind of party she’d like to have with her friends.”
McNair adds the family will be spending the month of August visiting family and celebrating Mac Neil’s Olympics achievements.
-With files from 980 CFPL’s Jacquelyn LeBel and Andrew Graham