Maggie Mac Neil to Swim Fifth Year at LSU; No Longer Heading to Cal

maggie-macneil, maggie mac neil
Maggie Mac Neil -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Maggie Mac Neil to Swim Fifth Year at LSU; No Longer Heading to Cal

Shortly after concluding her senior-year NCAA Championships for the University of Michigan, Olympic gold medalist Maggie Mac Neil announced that she would compete a fifth year in college swimming for Cal-Berkeley. However, Mac Neil’s plans have since changed, and Louisiana State University announced Saturday that Mac Neil will be heading to Baton Rouge to join the Tigers for her final year of college swimming.

Mac Neil, a native of London, Ontario, will reunite with LSU head coach Rick Bishop, who was Mac Neil’s primary coach during her time with the Wolverines until Bishop’s departure to LSU last year.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with Maggie again,” Bishop said in a press release from LSU. “She is one of the greats in swimming today, and she will make an immediate impact for the Tigers. Maggie has an infectious drive for success that elevates those around her.”

Mac Neil’s decision comes on the heels of allegations of verbal abuse and bullying against Cal women’s coach Teri McKeever and McKeever being placed on administrative leave. However, Mac Neil had deleted her Instagram post in which announced her commitment to Cal, so her change in plans does not come as a major surprise. Nor does her decision to reunite with Bishop, under whose tutelage Mac Neil became one of the world’s top swimmers.

At the 2019 World Championships, Mac Neil was just 19 years old when she pulled off a major upset in the women’s 100 butterfly by defeating Sarah Sjostrom, the world-record holder and three-time defending world champion, and claiming gold for Canada In 2021, Mac Neil won a pair of NCAA titles in the 100-yard fly and 100-yard freestyle, and her performance in the butterfly event made her the first woman in history to swim under 49.

A few months later, Mac Neil won Olympic gold in the 100 fly, beating China’s Zhang Yufei by five hundredths. Mac Neil also won two relay medals in Tokyo with her Canadian teammates, silver in the 400 free relay and bronze in the 400 medley relay. She finished off 2021 by claiming five medals (four gold) at the Short Course World Championships in Abu Dhabi, and her results at that meet included an individual gold in the 100 fly and a world-record-smashing performance in the 50 backstroke where she led a 1-2 finish with Canadian teammate Kylie Masse.

However, Mac Neil did struggle in her final meet with Michigan, this year’s NCAA Championships. She ended up third behind Kate Douglass and Torri Huske in a tight 100 fly final, and she also finished third in the 50 free and 10th in the 100 free. Mac Neil revealed soon after that she had been dealing with a fractured elbow, and while she will compete at the upcoming World Championships in Budapest, she will race in relays only.

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