Maggie MacNeil Crushes World Record for Short Course Worlds Gold in 50 Back

MACNEIL Margaret CAN Women's 50m Backstroke Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates 19/12/21 Etihad Arena FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) Photo Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Maggie MacNeil -- Photo Courtesy: Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Maggie MacNeil Crushes World Record for Short Course Worlds Gold in 50 Back

Canada’s Maggie MacNeil is best known for her skills in butterfly, and she is the long course world champion and Olympic gold medalist in the 100 fly. She has even made some noise in sprint freestyle, both in college and in relays on the international stage. But she has incredible underwater dolphin kicks, and that skill translates into short course backstroke. Indeed, MacNeil showed those abilities Monday in Abu Dhabi as she stormed to gold in the women’s 50 back, and she destroyed the world record in the process.

MacNeil, who had qualified third for the final, blasted out to a half-bodylength lead off the start and then extended it on her turn. She finished in 25.27, well under the world record of 25.60 that the Netherlands’ Kira Toussaint recorded twice in 2020. MacNeil won her third gold medal of the week after previously winning gold with Team Canada as part of the women’s 400 free relay and mixed 200 medley relay, and she also qualified first in the 100 fly semifinals to set herself up for another run at gold Tuesday.

And to top it off, MacNeil led a 1-2 finish for Canada, with Kylie Masse taking silver in 25.62. Masse became the third-fastest performer ever in the event behind MacNeil and Toussaint, and she captured her third silver medal in as many individual backstroke races this week.

Sweden’s Louise Hansson, the gold medalist in the 100 back earlier in the week, took bronze in 25.86. Hansson has also won a pair of relay medals (one gold and one bronze) this week. Hansson just beat out France’s Analia Pigree (25.96) to get on the podium. The Netherlands’ Maaike de Waard was also under 26 (25.99).

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