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Canadian swimmer Maggie Mac Neil sets world record at short course worlds

Mac Neil trimmed over a half-second off the previous record
Canada’s Maggie Mac Neil in action during World Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 21, 2021. On Dec. 18, 2022, she set a new world record at the FINA World Swimming Championships. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Canada’s Maggie Mac Neil closed out the FINA World Swimming Championships in style on Sunday by setting a world record in the women’s 100-metre butterfly.

Mac Neil, from London, Ont., finished in 54.05 seconds to trim over a half-second off American Kelsi Dahlia’s previous mark (54.59).

Canada won five medals on the day to bring the team’s total to 14 for the week.

Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., won silver in the women’s 200 freestyle and Montreal native Ilya Kharun took silver in the men’s 100-metre butterfly.

Kylie Masse of La Salle, Ont., won bronze in the women’s 200-metre backstroke in a Canadian record time.

Calgary’s Ingrid Wilm, Sydney Pickrem of Halifax, Mac Neil and Kelowna, B.C., native Taylor Ruck also set a national mark with their third-place finish in the women’s 4x100 medley relay.

Mac Neil said she was “definitely aiming” for a world record.

“I’m just kind of trying to improve things as I go along for finals, so I’m really pleased with that,” she said. “To make that my last individual swim of 2022 is so great.”

American Torri Huske was second in 54.75 and Sweden’s Louise Hansson took bronze in 54.87. Montreal’s Katerine Savard was eighth.

Mac Neil was named best female swimmer of the meet after winning three individual gold medals, two world records and three relay bronzes.

“It means so much,” she said. “There were so many incredible swims and records broken this week but to end 2022 on such a high note is amazing.”

In the 200 back, Australia’s Kaylee McKeown won gold in 1:59.26 and American Claire Curzan took silver in 2:00.53.

Masse was third in 2:01.26 for her first individual podium appearance of the meet. Wilm was fourth.

“I just tried to rely on my training that I’ve done and just continue to believe in myself to put together a good race,” Masse said. “It’s great to have Ingrid up there fourth in the 200 as well, she had a great swim.”

The United States won gold in the 4x100 medley relay in 3:44.35. Australia took silver in 3:44.92 and Canada was third in 3:46.92.

Kharun was second in the men’s 100 fly in 49.03 behind South Africa’s Chad le Clos (48.59).

“It’s awesome, it’s a very great feeling,” Kharun said. “The time was just amazing, I’m really proud of it. I’m just trying to learn from my teammates, trying to keep on moving and doing my best.”

Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey won gold in the 200 free in 1:51.65. Smith was next in 1:52.24 and Marrit Steenbergen of the Netherlands was third in 1:52.28.

“I’m so thrilled with that swim,” Smith said. “This is my best event and having it on Day 6 is a little tough mentally just to keep my composure, but I had so many great teammates around me to help me and encourage me all week. I’m so happy with that result.”

The Canadian Press

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