2021 CANADIAN FEMALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: MAGGIE MACNEIL
The 2021 Canadian Female Swimmer of the Year Swammy Award goes to Maggie MacNeil, making her the first repeat winner of this award.
MacNeil, who competes in the NCAA as a member of the Michigan Wolverines, began her year with explosive performances in the SCY Pool at the 2021 NCAA Championships. During the meet, MacNeil picked up individual victories in both the 100 freestyle (46.02) and the 100 butterfly (48.89), becoming the first woman to break 49 seconds in the latter of the two events. In addition, MacNeil picked up a second place finish in the 50 freestyle and split 49.76 on the backstroke leg (not even her primary stroke! But more on this later) of Michigan’s 400 medley relay. For her efforts, MacNeil was named the CSCAA NCAA Female Swimmer of the Year.
Following a strong NCAA performance, MacNeil exploded in Tokyo, claiming the Olympic gold medal in the 100 butterfly with a blistering time of 55.59 to break her own Canadian Record and become the 2nd fastest swimmer in history in the event. Showcasing her freestyle prowess, MacNeil also contributed a valuable 53.47 split to the Canadian women’s 400 freestyle relay, picking up a silver medal in the process. MacNeil managed to close out her first Olympics with a bronze medal as a member of the 4×100 medley relay, giving her a medal of each color. For her efforts, MacNeil was named the Best Female Athlete of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
After conquering the LCM and SCY pool, MacNeil showcased her strength in the SCM pool at the Short Course World Championships, putting up a dominant performance. MacNeil finished the meet with a total of 6 medals, including golds in the 100 butterfly, 50 backstroke, women’s 4×100 freestyle relay, and the mixed 4×50 freestyle relay. And, remember how we said she was a really good backstroker, MacNeil picked up her first world record in the 50 backstroke, swimming a time of 25.27 to chop over .3 off of the previous world record. Following her performance, MacNeil expressed her own disbelief of her first world record coming in a backstroke event.
- Penny Oleksiak – After struggling on the international stage for a few years following her breakout at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Oleksiak found her rhythm in Tokyo claiming a silver medal and two bronze medals. At the Games, Oleksiak threw down best times in the 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle, claiming an individual bronze medal in the former of the two events. Despite missing the podium in the 100 free with a 4th place finish, she posted a time of 52.59, faster than her Canadian record and gold medal-winning time from Rio. With her performances in Tokyo, Oleksiak brought her lifetime total up to 7 Olympic medals, making her the most decorated Canadian Olympian of all time.
- Kylie Masse – Like the aforementioned Oleksiak, Masse also earned several medals in Tokyo, finishing the Games with 2 silver medals and one bronze. Individually, Masse picked up silver medals in both the 100 and 200 backstroke, finishing second to Australia’s Kaylee McKeown in both events. In 2021, Masse also broke Canadian records in both backstroke events, throwing down times of 57.70 in the 100 backstroke and 2:05.42 in the 200 backstroke, becoming the third woman to ever go a 57 in the 100 backstroke. At the 2021 Short Course World Championships, Masse earned 4 silver medals, making the podium in the 50, 100, and 200 back, along with contributing to Canada’s 400 medley relay team.
- 2021: Maggie MacNeil
- 2020: Sydney Pickrem
- 2019: Maggie MacNeil
- 2018: Taylor Ruck
- 2017: Kylie Masse
- 2016: Penny Oleksiak
- 2015: Emily Overholt
- 2014: Brittany Maclean