Maggie MacNeil Drops Fastest 50 Back in History, 23.02, at Big Ten Champs


Leading off Michigan’s third-place 200 medley relay tonight at the 2021 Big Ten Championships, junior Maggie MacNeil posted the fastest time ever in the 50-yard backstroke. She blasted a 23.02 to lead off the Wolverine relay, taking down her old best of 23.05, which previously stood as the fastest 50 back.

The closest medley relay lead-off tonight at Big Tens was Ohio State junior and British national Emily Crane, who was 23.66 to move into the top 15 performers historical ranking.

MacNeil, primarily a butterflier, used otherworldly underwaters to power to her new best time. She’s currently more than three-tenths better than any other female 50 backstroker in history.

At the women’s SEC Championships and women’s ACC Championships last week, Alabama’s Rhyan White dropped a 23.35 to become the #2 performer in history, while NC State’s Katharine Berkoff was 23.37 at ACCs to move to #4.


  1. Maggie MacNeil – 23.02
  2. Rhyan White – 23.35
  3. Rachel Bootsma – 23.36
  4. Katharine Berkoff – 23.37
  5. Natalie Coughlin – 23.40*
  6. Cindy Tran – 23.44

*Coughlin’s 23.40 was her first 50 going out in her NCAA 100 back win in 2002, where she went 50.02.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
7 months ago

That’s awesome especially after Michigan missed 2 weeks of training. Lots of fast 50 back splits this year! Could we potentially see a 22 in the near future?

Reply to  swimfan210_
7 months ago

I’m guessing that most of the top swimmers probably found some pool time off campus during that stretch.

7 months ago

Awesome Maggie!

And incredible first 50 speed from Coughlin, however unlike breast and fly she’s not doing a ‘legal’ touch at the 50 so it can’t really be on this list, but could be a side note to show her front end speed that day.

Reply to  Njones
7 months ago

Who cares if it was a foot touch? There aren’t official records for the 50s in yards, and if anything it’s more impressive that she could do that to the foot, presumably going at less than 100% effort.

Reply to  Sean
7 months ago

Because the list days “50 back top performers of all time”. I applaud her rediculous opening speed like you do. Just needs to be a foot note, a big one for sure, but not officially on the list.

NornIron Swim
Reply to  NJones
7 months ago

Before the 800 became a common event for men it wasn’t that unusual for national or even world records to be set for it on the way to the 1500. Whether it’s a foot touch or hand touch they all count.

Reply to  NJones
7 months ago

I don’t think anyone would agree with you, especially considering it’s backstroke and not mixed gender. A 50 back is a 50 back. There’s no rolling start involved

7 months ago


Northern SwimParent
7 months ago


Go Maggie!!!!!!!

Swimmer A
7 months ago


Cindy Rowe
7 months ago

So excited to see her swim against Masse at 🇨🇦 Trials !
Way to go, Maggie! Congrats

Larry Day
7 months ago

Go Maggie! Go Blue!

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

Read More »