To see all of our 2021 Swammy Awards, click here.
2021 NCAA FEMALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: MAGGIE MACNEIL, MICHIGAN
Michigan junior Maggie MacNeil is our NCAA Female Swimmer of the Year, thanks to her historic performances in the 2020-2021 season. MacNeil had an absolutely electric 2021 in the pool, earning her our Canadian Female Swimmer of the Year Swammy as well.
In the college season, MacNeil won a pair of NCAA titles, taking the 100 fly and 100 free. In the 100 fly, MacNeil shattered the NCAA Record, swimming a 48.89 to become the first woman in history to break 49 seconds in the event. The history would not stop there, however, as MacNeil also swam a 49.76 in the 100 back, breaking 50 seconds for the first time, and making her just the 2nd female ever to be sub-:50 in the 100 fly and 100 back.
MacNeil is a shockingly versatile sprinter, as she also won the 100 free with a 46.02, breaking the Michigan and Big Ten Records. The time makes MacNeil the #3 performer all-time in the 100 free, and her time is tied for the 4th-fastest performance of all-time.
MacNeil first individual event of the NCAA Championships was the 50 free, where she clocked a 21.17 for 2nd. She ended the season as the fastest performer in the NCAA in the 100 fly, 100 free, and 50 back, and the #2 performer in the 50 free and 100 back.
At the Big Ten Championships, MacNeil won the 50 free, 100 fly, and 100 free, and was a member of the winning 400 free relay. For her efforts, she won Big Ten Swimmer of the Championships, and later won Big Ten Swimmer of the Year. Following the NCAAs, MacNeil was named CSCAA Women’s Swimmer of the Year.
While this award only takes into account the NCAA season, we have to note that MacNeil went on to win Gold in the 100 fly at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She ended 2021 by winning SC World Champs Gold in 4 events, including the 100 fly, and the 50 back, in which she shattered the World Record. After winning the SC Worlds 100 fly title, MacNeil became the first woman in history to hold the Olympic, LC Worlds, SC Worlds, and NCAA title in the same event simultaneously.
In no particular order
- Paige Madden, UVA – Madden was the only swimmer last season to win all 3 of her individual events at NCAAs, taking the 200 free, 500 free, and 1650 free. She also helped the UVA 800 free relay to victory on opening night of NCAAs, bringing her total number of titles to 4. In addition to winning the 200, 500, and 1650, Madden ended the season as the fastest performer in the NCAA in all 3 events. For Madden, it wasn’t just about the fact that she won those races, how she won is just as impressive. Madden won the 1650 free by 5 seconds, the 500 by 1.4 seconds, and the 200 free by 1.1 seconds, marking 3 comfortable victories at the biggest meet in the NCAA.
- Kate Douglass, UVA – Douglass is one of the most versatile swimmers we’ve ever seen in the NCAA. She won the 50 free at NCAAs, breaking the ACC Record with a 21.09. While that was her only individual NCAA title, she ended the season as the fastest swimmer in the NCAA in the 200 IM. Douglass was also the #2 performer last season in the 100 free, 100 fly, and 200 breast. Douglass was also a pivotal member of the UVA 200 medley relay at ACCs, which broke the NCAA Record.
- Sophie Hansson, NC State – Hansson isn’t as versatile as some of the other swimmers on this list, but nonetheless, she had a stellar season. She swept the breaststroke events at NCAAs, breaking the ACC Record in both events. She also helped NC State to its NCAA Record-breaking 400 medley relay, posting a blistering 57.01 breaststroke split. With her win in the 100 breast, Hansson won NC State’s first individual NCAA title in program history. She also swept the breast events at ACCs for the 3rd year in a row.
- Alex Walsh, UVA – Walsh won the 200 IM at NCAAs, winning the race by 1.5 seconds. She also finished 5th in the 200 free and 200 breast. Additionally, Walsh ended the 2020-2021 NCAA season with 5 top 10 times. In the end, she was the #2 200 IM’er in the NCAA last season, #8 in the 200 breast, and #9 in the 200 free, 200 back, and 100 breast. Walsh would go on to win Silver in the 200 IM at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.