World Champion Maggie MacNeil Returns to Ann Arbor; Unsure About NCAA Season

University of Michigan junior Maggie MacNeil, the defending World Champion in the women’s 100 meter fly, is back in Ann Arbor, but is uncertain about whether or not she’ll compete this season.

MacNeil has been training at the High Performance Center Ontario, which is home to many of Canada’s star swimmers including Taylor Ruck, Kayla Sanchez, and Penny Oleksiak, saying she wanted to wait until “things became more stable” before returning to Michigan.

She was back in Ann Arbor on Sunday, though to resume training with her coaches at Michigan.

Michigan, which allowed outdoor pools to reopen in July amid the ongoing coronavirus panedmic, officially reopened indoor pools earlier this month. That includes allowing indoor competitions to resume with a limit of 100 people allowed indoors. That means that the Wolverines were officially allowed to resume training in the Canham Natatorium after a false start earlier in the summer that caused some kerfuffle on social media.

MacNeil says that she still isn’t sure about whether she’ll compete in the 2020-2021 NCAA season, because she simply doesn’t have enough information by which to make that decision.

“As far as the collegiate season goes, I am playing it by ear, as there is currently no decision on how the season is going to unfold,” MacNeil told SwimSwam.

The Big Ten Conference, of which Michigan is a part, has told coaches that swim meets won’t be allowed to begin until at least January 1. Some of the conference’s teams still haven’t been able to resume training, either.

While there is growing conversation among college coaches to weigh pushing an NCAA Championship meet later than March because of the delays by the Big Ten and Pac-12 in starting their seasons, for some international swimmers like MacNeil, such a delay could be prohibitive: Swimming Canada will hold its Olympic Trials from April 7-11, 2021 in a condensed 5-day format.

The current schedule for the NCAA Championships is from March 17-20 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

MacNeil is the 2020 Big Ten Swimmer of the Year and Big Ten Swimmer of the Championships, plus the University of Michigan all-sports Female Athlete of the Year.

She was also named one of four finalists for the 2020 Honda Award in Swimming & Diving, honoring the best female college swimmers in the country.

At the 2020 Big Ten Championships, she won titles in the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly, in addition to 3 relay titles. She also swam the fastest-ever 50 backstroke on a 200 medley relay leadoff leg.

While the 2020 NCAA Championship meet wound up being canceled, MacNeil had the fastest time in the country last season of 49.26. Swum at the mid-season Minnesota Invitational, that tied the NCAA and U.S. Open Records as the fastest time ever.

Last summer, MacNeil won gold in the women’s 100 fly at the World Championships, beating out four-time World Champion and the reigning Olympic champion Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden.

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Alyssa Frizzo
6 months ago

While the state of Michigan allows 100 people indoors, Washtenaw County, where Ann Arbor is, only allows groups of 10 indoors and 25 outdoors right now. I don’t know if the swim team has found a way around this though.

Reply to  Alyssa Frizzo
6 months ago

Actually that limit is For The 2 college towns in the county (Ann arbor and Ypsilanti). Others can gather larger indoors. HS practices meets are happening.

Reply to  Alyssa Frizzo
6 months ago

I was told that college pools have different rules and don’t have to follow the Governor’s orders that’s why they were able to swim earlier. They are almost like a private pool since they can only open to student athletes at least UofM..

Can someone look into that?

Yup, Washtenaw health department is pretty tight and won’t allow certain pools, like Mack to open.

Last edited 6 months ago by rye
Reply to  rye
6 months ago

They were training outdoors at Chippewa from around July 4th until a couple weeks ago. They tried using their pool in late June but were shut down immediately by the state. They couldn’t get into the Ann Arbor outdoor 50 meter pool because of their draconian rules (1 per lane every 1.5 hours so they only fit about 60 swimmers per day in that pool and would not rent it to any clubs) so Chippewa was their solution.

Reply to  meeeee
6 months ago

my source is wrong then.

Yeah, Fuller pool was only allowing 1 per late. My masters group usually swims there during the summer but we had to find another place.

We had to find another pool for indoors since it’s getting cold to swim outdoors.

Canadian Fan
6 months ago

Are swimmers from Canada not taking a big risk by returning to school in the U.S.? If the current Canadian LAW requiring a 14 day quarantine when entering the country is still in place when Trials happen in April, they will need to be out of the pool for two weeks some time between now and then.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Canadian Fan
6 months ago

The risk isn’t the quarantine, it’s the actual prevalence of infection in the U.S. If I’m Canadian trying to avoid getting the virus, the last places I’d want to go are the U.S. (especially a college town) or EU right now. She has a symptomatic COVID-19 infection, and she’ll be out/suboptimal a lot longer than 14 days.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
6 months ago

Its pretty much down to nothing in Washtenaw count (10-15 per day). And the UM athletic department has done a fantastic job with all of this. I’m sure she considered all the options.

Candian swimmer
Reply to  Canadian Fan
6 months ago

If they have an Olympic trials….. with the lockdown in our near future. An event like that would be completely unfair considering a lot of the country’s top athletes STILL do not have facility acess. Unless you are in a High Performance centre the odds of being in shape to even attend a trials is almost impossible being it October already. The thought of me an athlete having to put a unknown drug/ vaccine in my body in order to attend a swim meet seems very unsettling. I have a strong feeling MOST athletes who are serious would not take any type of vaccine until it has been fully tested and all side effects short/ long term are KNOWN.
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6 months ago

I’d be interested to know which teams are in the pool and which aren’t at this point. Not just for the B1G but others as well.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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