Courtesy: Michigan Athletics
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan Athletics Department announced Thursday (June 11) that senior Felix Auböck (men’s swimming and diving) and sophomore Maggie MacNeil (women’s swimming and diving) have been named the 2019-20 U-M Athletes of the Year.
Auböck is the eighth men’s swimmer to receive the award, and first since Connor Jaeger in 2014. MacNeil is the sixth women’s swimmer to receive the award, and first since Anne Kampfe was a co-recipient in 1997. Additionally, this is the third time since the award’s inception in 1982 that both the U-M Athletes of the Year are swimmers (1990: Brent Lang and Ann Colloton; 1991: Mike Barrowman and Lisa Anderson).
The following are biographical sketches on Aubock and MacNeil:
Felix Auböck (Men’s Swimming and Diving)
Auböck (Vienna, Austria) is the eighth men’s swimmer to receive the U-M Athlete of the Year award, joining Lang (1990), Barrowman (1991), Gustavo Borges (1994), Tom Dolan (1995, 1996), Dan Ketchum (2002), Peter Vanderkaay (2006) and Jaeger (2013, 2014).
In May, Auböck was named Big Ten Men’s Swimmer of the Year for the second time after also having received the award as a freshman in 2017. He was a three-time Big Ten champion in 2020, winning individual titles in the 500-yard freestyle (4:10.14) and 1,650-yard freestyle (14:30.10), while swimming a leg on the winning 800-yard freestyle relay. He became the fourth man in Big Ten history to sweep the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyles at four consecutive Big Ten Championships. In lieu of the NCAA Championships, which were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Auböck was named a five-time All-American by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA).
Auböck is unquestionably one of the best distance swimmers in NCAA history, ranking as the third-fastest performer in the 1,650-yard freestyle (14:22.88, 2017) and the seventh-fastest performer in the 500-yard freestyle (4:08.95, 2017). In his four-year career, Auböck was an NCAA champion (2019: 1,650-yard freestyle), a 14-time CSCAA All-American and nine-time Big Ten champion. He leaves Michigan as the school record-holder in the 200-yard freestyle (1:32.02) and 1,650-yard freestyle (14:22.88), while also ranking third all-time in the 500-yard freestyle (4:08.95).
Internationally, Auböck represented Austria at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and had already qualified for the 2020 Olympics in the 800-meter freestyle prior to the Games’ postponement.
An Academic All-Big Ten selection, Auböck graduated with degrees in history and political science.
Maggie MacNeil (Women’s Swimming and Diving)
MacNeil (London, Ontario, Canada) is the sixth women’s swimmer to receive the U-M Athlete of the Year award, joining Colloton (1989, 1990), Anderson (1991), Mindy Gehrs (1992), Lara Hooiveld (1993) and Kampfe (1997, co-).
A native of London, Ontario, Canada, MacNeil was named 2020 Big Ten Women’s Swimmer of the Year and 2020 Big Ten Swimmer of the Championships. She was a six-time Big Ten champion this year, winning the 50-yard freestyle (21.30), 100-yard freestyle (46.57) and 100-yard butterfly (49.42), while swimming legs on three winning relay teams. Following the season, she was named one of the four finalists for the 2020 Honda Award for Swimming and Diving. MacNeil, a general studies major, was also an Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
In two short years, MacNeil has already proven to be among the fastest swimmers in NCAA history. Among its all-time performers, she ended the season ranked No. 1 (tie) in the 100-yard butterfly (49.26, 2019), No. 7 in the 100-yard freestyle (46.57, 2020), No. 8 in the 50-yard freestyle (21.30, 2020) and No. 9 (tie) in the 100-yard backstroke (50.04, 2020). She holds nine school records, including five in individual events (50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke, 100-yard butterfly, 100-meter butterfly) and four more on relays. MacNeil also has two Big Ten records (100-yard freestyle, 100-yard butterfly) and tied one NCAA record (100-yard butterfly).
MacNeil rose her profile on the international stage last summer, collecting three medals for Canada at the FINA World Championships in South Korea. She won gold in the 100-meter butterfly, setting new Commonwealth, Americas and Canadian records (55.83), while winning bronze medals on the 4×100-meter freestyle relay and 4×100-meter medley relay.