Maggie MacNeil brought home the gold for Canada after she placed first in the 100m butterfly on Sunday.
Not only did she win Canada’s first gold medal of the season, but she is also the first Canadian to win a gold medal in the women’s 100m fly, according to the Olympics Twitter account.
The swimming sensation beat China’s Zhang Yufei by 0.05 of a second. Her time was 55.59 seconds, which is her personal best.
She set a new record for Canada as well as the Americas. The Canadian record for the event was 55.83 set by MacNeil herself and beat the 55.66 record that was held by Torri Huske from the U.S., reported Swim Swam.
MacNeil’s reaction to the win has become a viral hit as she was seen squinting and not realizing that she had won. Since she does not wear contact lenses or prescription goggles when she swims, MacNeil didn’t see her final time on the clock.
— calum (@f1onfilm) July 26, 2021
“I heard my name getting called so I thought I must have done something good, but it wasn’t until I turned around and saw the results that I realised I won,” MacNeil told South China Morning Post.
Her mother Susan McNair told Global News that watching her daughter’s reaction to winning was “a priceless moment.”
Hannah Margaret McNair MacNeil was originally born in Jiujiang and adopted when she was just a few months old by Canadian parents in Guanxi. She began swimming at the age of 2 and started competing when she was 8.
She was accepted to the University of Michigan and plans to practice law or medicine. MacNeil was named as the university’s Female Athlete of the Year and will be the second woman’s swimmer to win gold in an individual event. Gunny Duenkel won the 400-meter freestyle at the 1964 Olympics.
MacNeil’s pre-competition ritual consisted of splashing herself 15 times and kicking the backfoot plate three times before getting on the blocks, according to SCMP.
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This is MacNeil’s second time competing in the Olympics. She placed sixth in the 100m butterfly trials at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
She also won a silver medal in the 4×100 m freestyle relay on July 25.
MacNeil also reached the third-fastest ever Olympic time in the 100m butterfly, reported Global News.
Before this monumental win, MacNeil had the fourth fastest time in the world for the 100m butterfly at 56.14 seconds, MLive noted. She’s also the reigning NCAA champion in the 100-yard butterfly.
MacNeil is still “trying to process what happened yesterday because that was so incredible” and that it will “take a while” to get used to the fact that she’s a world champion, according to Swimming World.