MacNeil Shocks Sjostrom, Becomes #2 Performer Of All-Time In 100 Fly


After qualifying second for the final in a massive best time of 56.52, Canadian Maggie MacNeil was set to go up against one of the sport’s most dominating figures in the women’s 100 fly final in Sarah Sjostrom.

After turning fifth at the 50m wall in 26.77, MacNeil stormed home in 29.06 to run down Sjostrom and win in 55.83.

“I was very surprised. I couldn’t believe it. I looked up and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I’m out of this world right now.’ ” MacNeil said.

“I’ve definitely been working on my second 50. I tend not to go out as fast as the other girls, but I definitely can come back really well,” she said.

That time gives the 19-year-old a new Commonwealth Record, Americas Record, Canadian Record, and makes her the second-fastest performer of all-time. She joins Sjostrom and American Dana Vollmer in the elusive sub-56 club.

The Commonwealth Record was held by Emma McKeon, who went 56.18 at the 2017 World Championships, the Americas Record previously belonged to Vollmer at 55.98, while the Canadian mark was owned by Penny Oleksiak who won Olympic silver behind Sjostrom in 2016 in a time of 56.46.

All-Time Performers, Women’s 100 Fly

  1. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 55.48 – 2016
  2. Maggie MacNeil (CAN), 55.83 – 2019
  3. Dana Vollmer (USA), 55.98 – 2012
  4. Liu Zige (CHN), 56.07 – 2009
  5. Rikako Ikee (JPN), 56.08 – 2018

McKeon, MacNeil and Sjostrom. Courtesy Swimming Canada/Ian MacNicol

MacNeil’s swim also checks in as the eighth-fastest performance of all-time with Sjostrom holding the top-7. Her back 50 split is actually faster than Sjostrom has ever closed in, as the Swede’s best showing on the second 50 was a 29.12 during her World Championship winning swim back at the 2009 Championships in Rome.

Coming into the competition,the rising sophomore at Michigan held a best time of 57.04 from the Canadian Trials in April. Prior to that meet, her best was 58.38 from the Junior Pan Pacs last summer.

This is her second medal of the competition after winning bronze on Canada’s 400 free relay on night one.

“Tonight has to be one of the greatest nights ever if not the greatest night for a Canadian swimming team at a World Championship,” said High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson.

“Our athletes continue to convert opportunities. Maggie MacNeil swam an outstanding race to become world champion in the women’s 100 butterfly. Congratulations to Maggie and also to her Canadian club coach Andrew Craven at the London Aquatic Club where she came through the program.”

After leading at the halfway mark, Sjostrom faded, coming home in 30.26, and finished in 56.22. McKeon picked up the bronze in 56.61.

Quotes courtesy of Swimming Canada.

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Northern SwimParent
1 year ago

Go Maggie!!!!!

1 year ago

Canadian women doing great, seems each year they have a new breakout star. Oleksiak, Masse, Ruck now Macneil. Incredible swim, she destroyed Sjostrom on the turn and underwater.

Reply to  Bob1235
1 year ago

That turn was something else! Post-race MacNeil said she has been working on underwaters and that made all the difference.

Reply to  Retta Race
1 year ago

NCAA swimming can certainly help with those underwaters. Michigan has done a great job with her.

1 year ago

Canadian women’s swimming must be doing something right. They are on the rise.

Reply to  BM19
1 year ago

doesn’t she train at michigan?

Reply to  packoastie
1 year ago

Yep, and improved almost 3s in the year since moving there I believe.

The Yanks get a lot of stick, but nobody does it better. Unbelievably good system.

Reply to  packoastie
1 year ago

10 years in Canada, last 11 months in Michigan. You can interpret that how you like.

Reply to  John
1 year ago

You can, but it would be disingenuous to suggest she’d be swimming anything like 55.8 if she hadnt moved to Michigan. She looks a total different athlete to the one I saw in April 2018. As does Anna Hopkin, who moved to the USA aged 22, after 4 years at a top UK University program, and had pulverised her PBs within 6 months of going to Arkansas.

Reply to  John
1 year ago

With the amount of time she has dropped in those 11 months, I think we have to interpret what was going on in Canada for the previous 10 years. It’s not like she is an age grouper who had a massive growth spurt.

Reply to  Coach
1 year ago

Of course, the base was clearly an effective one. The same as Hopkin from GB. But what I ask is – Would they have made these jumps had they not moved? The answer I keep finding is I don’t think so. So you have to ask what American coaches may be doing to eek out the improvements that other coaches around the world arent getting out so easily.

Reply to  packoastie
1 year ago

How about we acknowledge both. Both the NCAA programs that develop Canadian student-athletes, AND the changes made in Canadian (women’s) swimming system over the past decade, and their willingness to coordinate to support some of Canada’s top swimmers. There’s room for both coordination between college team and home/national team system are necessary for these athletes to show up at Trials in April and perform and then manage summer training and travel.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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