Canadian professional swimmer Maggie MacNeil won gold at the International Swimming Federation (FINA) World Swimming Championships and broke the world record for the 50-meter backstroke.
Record-breaking performance: MacNeil, 21, bested seven other competitors at the United Arab Emirates’ Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on Monday, according to Swimming World Magazine.
- The Canadian gold medalist crushed the Netherlands’ Kira Toussaint’s record of 25.60 seconds by finishing at 25.27 seconds at the event. Fellow Canadian swimmer Kylie Masse finished second at 25.62 seconds, while Swedish swimmer Louise Hansson finished third at 25.86 seconds.
- Toussaint first set her record during an International Swimming League race in November 2020 and broke it the following month at an Amsterdam swim meet. According to Global News, MacNeil reportedly used the 25-meter pool in Abu Dhabi to her advantage. Fifty-meter pools are too large to allow turns, but MacNeil was able to use a “special skill” because the 25-meter short course pool allowed her to turn.
- She incorporated the underwater dolphin kicks she developed through her training, one of her previous coaches, Andrew Craven, explained.
- “It’s the underwater segment that she is the best in the world at,” Craven told Global News. “You want to go as far as you can underwater as fast as you can… That’s Maggie’s trick. She takes those kicks with the absolute maximum power. It’s not her secret weapon anymore but it’s her greatest weapon.”
Other details: MacNeil — who was born in Jiujiang and adopted by Canadian parents in Guanxi when she was just a few months old — started swimming at the age of 2.
- She won three gold medals in total at the FINA World Swimming Championships. In addition to her backstroke win, she and her teammates won the 4×100-meter freestyle relay and the 4×50-meter mixed freestyle, Toronto Star reported.
- “In practice, I mostly swim free and back. I don’t totally just do fly. That’s kind of how my training goes,” she told the publication. “I wouldn’t say I put too much emphasis on (back) timewise, but it’s something fun for me to do where I feel like I have less pressure.”
- MacNeil gained worldwide attention when she brought home gold for Canada after placing first in the 100-meter butterfly at the Tokyo Games in July, as NextShark previously reported.