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.
— Michigan Swimming & Diving (@umichswimdive) September 25, 2020