Last night, University of Michigan junior and 2019 100 fly World Champion Maggie MacNeil dropped a 57.2 100 fly in long course meters in the middle of practice.
The time trial was prompted by a challenge from Michigan associate head coach Rick Bishop. He tells SwimSwam that he sent MacNeil a text before practice to bring a racing suit and that she’s only been back training for a month. When she got to practice, he challenged her to race a 100 fly all-out, suited.
“The goal was to push Maggie out of her comfort zone and take a risk at challenging for a great time. With only a little over a month of training we were very pleased with the result,” said Coach Bishop. “As we prepare for the Olympics there will be a lot of uncomfortable moments. Meeting the small uncomfortable moments head-on now will better prepare us for the BIG moments.”
With swimmers going easy (likely warming up or down) in the lane next to her, MacNeil cruised out with a 26-mid and came back to hit a 57.2. SwimSwam hand-timed the race from the video and clocked 57-low on three attempts.
According to the race video’s Instagram caption, her swim, had it been official, would’ve broken former World Record-holder and current American Record-holder Dana Vollmer‘s Canham Natatorium pool record of 57.50. That swim was done in 2011, a year before Vollmer became the first woman ever under 56 seconds with a 55.98 at the 2012 London Olympics.
MacNeil is coming off of an upstart 2019 where she defeated 100 fly favorite and current World Record-holder Sarah Sjöström at the 2019 World Championships. She had never broken 58.0 seconds in this race until the year 2019 when she got down to 57.04 at the 2019 Canadian Worlds Trials, and she’s only been under 57 seconds twice, ever: a 56.52 at the Worlds semifinals and her gold medal-winning 55.83.
Her time yesterday is only a tenth off of what she went in prelims at those Worlds last year.
MacNeil wasn’t done yet, though. After crushing a 57.2 in the 100, she returned to the blocks for a 50 fly time trial. There, she hit a 26-flat, an unofficial best time. Her current official best is a 26.14 from 2019 Worlds.
When you’re the defending world champ you answer the challenge. Maggie MacNeil drops a 57.2 in the middle of practice then follows it up with a 26.0 50 Fly💪@swimswamnews @SwimmingCanada @[email protected] pic.twitter.com/pRyKzYzxhN
— Rick Bishop (@CoachRickBishop) October 15, 2020