In her debut at the FINA World Championships in 2019, Margaret Mac Neil delivered an incredible swim to win the world title in the 100m butterfly. She broke the Canadian, Americas, and Commonwealth record with her time of 55.83 seconds. The world championships were her first senior international competition and she defeated Swede Sarah Sjöström – the reigning Olympic champion, four-time world champion, and world record holder – in the final. Mac Neil also won a pair of bronze medals with the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley relays, breaking the national records in both. She was named Swimming Canada’s Breakout Swimmer of the Year.
Mac Neil had previously represented Canada at the 2018 Junior Pan Pacific Championships where she set a meet record to win gold in the 100m butterfly. She also contributed to three relay medals. She had also competed at the 2016 Junior Pan Pacs and 2015 FINA World Junior Championships.
Mac Neil competes collegiately for the University of Michigan. In 2019 she was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year after winning four conference titles. At the 2019 NCAA Championships, she finished second in the 100-yard butterfly. Following her sophomore season in 2019-20, she was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Year and the University of Michigan Female Athlete of the Year after winning six titles at the Big Ten Championships. She also earned All-American honours.
A Little More About Margaret
Getting into the sport: Started swimming at age 2… Began competing with the London Aquatic Club at age 8… Was drawn to swimming to make friends and support her competitive spirit… Outside Interests: Enjoys reading, sewing, and travelling… Has played violin since the age of 5 and clarinet since age 12… Interested in pursuing either law or medicine… Odds and Ends: Has said the biggest obstacle she’s had to overcome is dealing with severe asthma… Inspired by American swimmer Missy Franklin… Favourite quote: “The comfort zone is a great place, but nothing ever grows there”… Pre-race rituals include splashing herself 15 times with water before she gets on the blocks and kicking the backfoot plate three times…
Notable International Results
FINA World Championships: 2019 – GOLD (100m butterfly), BRONZE (4x100m medley relay), BRONZE (4x100m freestyle relay), 5th (4x100m mixed medley relay)
Pan Pacific Championships (Junior): 2018 – GOLD (100m butterfly), SILVER (4x100m medley relay), SILVER (4x100m mixed medley relay), BRONZE (4x100m freestyle relay), 6th (100m freestyle), 11th (100m backstroke)