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VICTORIA – The expectations have changed for Margaret Mac Neil as the 21-year-old Olympic and world champion prepares for the upcoming Bell Canadian Swimming Trials in Victoria.
At past trials making the team was Mac Neil’s prime goal. With her medal collection growing Mac Neil plans to use this year’s event as a tune-up for a busy summer of international competitions.
“I’ve always put expectations on myself but I think the expectations of people around me have changed,” said Mac Neil, who will train at the High Performance Centre – Ontario this summer after wrapping up her fourth year at the University of Michigan. “I’ve done something great once and I want to prove that I can do it again.
“I’m just going to go and hopefully swim as close to best times as possible. This year I haven’t really done a lot of long-course swimming. I’ve been really excited about switching from short course to long course and getting to see what I can do this summer.”
Mac Neil will be one of 552 swimmers from 131 clubs across the country competing at the trials which begin Tuesday at Saanich Commonwealth Place. The six-day competition will select the Swimming Canada teams competing at the FINA World Championships in June in Budapest, Hungary; the Commonwealth Games in July in Birmingham, England; and the World Para Swimming Championships scheduled for June in Madeira, Portugal.
All sessions will be streamed live on CBC Sports, with commentary for the finals from former national team swimmers Jasen Pratt and Sarah Mailhot. Live streams can be watched with the free CBC Gem streaming service, at as well as through the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. For the full streaming schedule, click here.
Swimming Canada is also offering a free Fantasy Swimming Pick’em Challenge that allows fans to build a team and win prizes at
Mac Neil was recently named Swimming Canada’s Female Swimmer of the Year after adding the Olympic and world short-course 100-m butterfly titles to her long-course world championship from 2019. She also set a world record in the 50-m backstroke at December’s world short-course championships in Abu Dhabi, Canada’s most successful ever with 15 medals.
She will be joined by fellow Olympic medallists Kylie Masse, Penny Oleksiak, Sydney Pickrem, Taylor Ruck, Kayla Sanchez, Katerine Savard and Rebecca Smith, as well as swimmers who emerged with medals at the world short-course championships such as Josh Liendo, Summer McIntosh and Tessa Cieplucha.
HPC-Ontario Interim Head Coach Ryan Mallette said his group, which includes Masse, Oleksiak, Pickrem, Sanchez, McIntosh, Liendo and others such as two-time Olympian Yuri Kisil, is ready for some fast racing.
“We are looking forward to going to Victoria,” Mallette said. “It’s a great city and a fast pool. We’re looking forward to fast swims as we prepare for world championships and Commonwealth Games.”
Meanwhile, Paralympic medallists including Aurelie Rivard, Katarina Roxon and Danielle Dorris will be in action, as will Rio 2016 medallist Tess Routliffe, who makes her return from a back injury that kept her out of last year’s Tokyo 2020 Games.
“From the Paralympic program perspective we just want to race,” said Wayne Lomas, associate director of high performance and Para swimming national coach. “It’s exciting that this will be the first time since 2019 that all of Canada’s best swimmers have all raced together.”
Also selected will be squads heading to the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Hawaii and the FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships in Seychelles.
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