Mac Neil golden again

Maggie Mac Neil shows off the gold medal she won in the 100-metre butterfly at the Tokyo Olympics, July 25, 2021. Photo from olympic.ca

London’s Maggie Mac Neil won gold at her first Olympics, at her first World Championships, and now at her first Commonwealth Games.

In Saturday’s women’s 100-metre butterfly final, Mac Neil edged out reigning champion Emma McKeon by only 0.02 seconds.

Last month, when competing at the worlds in Budapest, the 22-year-old sat the 100-metre fly out to focus on swimming the relay races with her teammates.

“I was really motivated to get back,” Mac Neil said to Swimming Canada. “I’m extremely proud to win the gold here at my first Commonwealth Games. At the worlds I got my feet a little bit wet but I knew the focus was going to be these Games.”

Her focus paid off as her winning time of 56.36 seconds is the new Commonwealth Games record.

Two other Canadian women appeared in the final race, Katerine Savard from Pont-Rouge, Quebec, the 2014 Commonwealth champion, was fifth in 58.09 and Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alberta, was eighth in 59.54.

Mac Neil, Savard, Smith, and 15-year-old phenom Summer McIntosh also medalled in the women’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay, coming in third for bronze.

“It was a hard double for the three of us,” Savard said of the relay. She, Mac Neil, and Smith only had minutes to recover after racing the fly. “We did our best and it turned out pretty well.”

So far, Canada has six medals, three gold and three bronze, for swimming and para-swimming at the games.