Maggie MacNeil Back on Campus at Michigan, Will Wait on College Season Decision

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

World champion Maggie MacNeil is back on campus at the University of Michigan after spending most of the summer training in Canada.

After being in Canada since March, the 2020 Big Ten Swimmer of the Year was cleared to return and did so on Sunday.

“I got the OK to come back to campus,” Maggie MacNeil told Swimming World.

Once pools in the state of Michigan shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, MacNeil went home to Ontario and has been training at the High Performance Center alongside fellow Canadian national teamers Taylor Ruck, Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez.

“The Center was the first place that opened in Canada. I left in July with the intention of coming back to July, but there were some COVID-related issues. I went back to Toronto because I wanted to be in place before classes started,” MacNeil said. “The training was great. It was really good to swim with the girls on the team who are my relay teammates.”

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Maggie MacNeil (second from left). Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Michigan outdoor pools reopened in July, and indoor pools opened just after Labor Day with COVID-19 protocols in place.

But MacNeil still had to return from outside of the United States, even it if it was just a short drive away from Ontario across the border into Michigan. She returned to Ann Arbor on Sunday.

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“Thankfully that was pretty smooth,” she said. “This whole year has been crazy. Patience has not been one of my strongest qualities, but this has definitely tested that and pushed it to its limits. I have learned a lot about myself during this time. Playing it by ear has been a challenge, but also enjoyable living in the moment and not worrying about what is next.”

The Big Ten has announced no meets will take place until at least January. With it being an Olympic year, that means a short season before the Olympic trials and Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

“I have been thinking about an Olympic redshirt, but I am still playing it by ear because we don’t even know what the college season will look like. There are still a lot of unknowns,” Maggie MacNeil said. “I will make a decision closer to January.”

MacNeil was the 2019 world champion in the 100 butterfly and was the 2020 Big Ten Swimmer of the Year, putting together a stellar college season at Michigan before the pandemic canceled the NCAA Championships. Earlier in the years, she clocked a 49.26 in the 100 butterfly (SCY) to tie the NCAA record and the U.S. Open record in the event.

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