MacNeil And Hayden Named 2021 Aquatics Canada Athletes of the Year

by Ben Dornan 3

January 14th, 2022 Canada, International, News, Tokyo 2020

Aquatics Canada has named Tokyo Olympians Maggie MacNeil and Brent Hayden as the 2021 Athletes of the Year for their performances this summer. Ben Titley was also honored, winning Coach of the Year.

Maggie MacNeil was one of Canada’s top performers at the Olympics when she won a trio of medals, one gold, one silver, and one bronze. The 2019 world champion swam her way to the top of the podium in the 100 butterfly at the Games, posting a 55.59 Americas record to defeat Zhang Yufei (55.64) and Emma McKeon (55.72).

MacNeil picked up her silver and bronze medals for her efforts in the 4×100 freestyle and 4×100 medley relays, respectively. In the freestyle relay, MacNeil posted a 53.47 split and in the medley relay, she was the fastest butterflier in the field with a 55.27.

For her swims at the Tokyo Games, MacNeil was named the 2021 Association of National Olympic Committees Female Athlete of Tokyo 2020. MacNeil also won the 2021 Swammy Award for Female Canadian Swimmer of the Year.

The winner of the men’s award Brent Hayden was Canada’s top individual finisher on the men’s side in Tokyo with his 9th place finish in the 50 freestyle. He posted a 21.85 during the heats to advance in 8th place but just missed the final when he swam a 21.82 for 9th.

Hayden’s most notable swim in Tokyo was his opening split of Canada’s 4×100 freestyle relay where he posted a 47.99. That swim made him the oldest man in history to get under 48 seconds in the 100 freestyle. Together, Hayden, Josh Liendo (47.51), Yuri Kisil (47.15), and Markus Thormeyer (48.17) put together a 3:10.82 Canadian record swim to finish 4th overall.

The 2021 Games were Hayden’s 4th Olympics following his performances at the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Games for Canada. He won a bronze medal in the 100 freestyle with a 47.80 behind Nathan Adrian (47.52) and James Magnussen (47.53).

2021 Swammy Award winner for Canadian Coach of the Year Ben Titley was also named Coach of the Year by Aquatics Canada. Titley coached a number of Canada’s top performers and medalists in the pool including Penny Oleksiak, Kylie Masse, Kayla Sanchez, Sydney Pickrem, and Josh Liendo.

All 2021 Aquatics Canada Award Winners

  • Maggie MacNeil: Female Athlete of the Year (Swimming)
  • Brent Hayden: Male Athlete of the Year (Swimming)
  • Coach of the Year: Ben Titley (Swimming)
  • Team of the Year: Jennifer Abel and Mélissa Citrini-Beaulieu (Diving)
  • Officials Award of Excellence: Marie-Claude Deslières (Water Polo)
  • Volunteer of the Year – Cheryl Gibson (Past President of Swimming Canada’s Board of Directors and current FINA Bureau Member)
  • Sport Executive of the Year – John Atkinson (Swimming)
  • Media Award of the Year – Roseline Filion (Radio-Canada)

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Big Mac #1
1 year ago

The 🐐

1 year ago

Close between Hayden and Liendo. I probably would’ve gone Liendo.

Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
1 year ago

Tight call… Wonderful there’s some internal men’s competition in Canada in 2021. Hayden had top individual finish with 9th in 50 Free. Liendo had 2 semi final swims. Both were key on the 4*1, Hayden perhaps with the nod due to the speedy 47.9 leadoff to really set up the team. Hayden with some ISL success, but Liendo with a breakout performance at SC Worlds…