MacNeil, Carter Win NCAA Titles as Wolverines Finish Sixth

MacNeil, Carter Win NCAA Titles as Wolverines Finish Sixth

3/20/2021 9:32:00 PM

// Brad Rudner

» The Wolverines finished sixth at the NCAA Championships (224.5 points).

» Maggie MacNeil won her second NCAA title in as many days, winning gold in the 100-yard freestyle. Her time of 46.02 makes her the third-fastest performer in history.

» Olivia Carter claimed the NCAA title in the 200-yard butterfly, beating the field by over a second and a half (1:51.33).

» Sierra Schmidt (3rd) and Kaitlynn Sims (5th) became the first pair of Michigan swimmers to make the podium in the 1,650-yard freestyle in the same year.

Site: Greensboro, N.C. (Greensboro Aquatic Center)
Event: NCAA Championships (Day 4 of 4)
U-M Team Standing: 6th place (224.5 points)
Next U-M Event: Season Complete

• Complete Results (PDF)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Juniors Maggie MacNeil and Olivia Carter of the University of Michigan women’s swimming and diving team each won NCAA individual titles on Saturday (March 20) to close out the NCAA Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. The Wolverines finished sixth in the team standings (224.5 points), securing the program’s third consecutive top-10 finish.

Over the four days in Greensboro, seven individuals earned All-America or All-America Honorable Mentions. In addition to their individual swims, several individuals picked up additional roles on relays this week. Sophomore Mariella Venter, a natural backstroker, swam breaststroke on both the 200- and 400-yard medley relays, while Carter and sophomore Megan Glass each dropped their third individual events in order to swim on all five relays. With relays worth double points, the strategy paid off, as the Wolverines totaled 70 points in those five events.

“Despite all they’ve been through this year, this team showed their resiliency this week. They fought for every point right up until the end,” said head coach Mike Bottom. “The challenges of being out of the water before Big Tens, and then having to re-train to get to this point, it’s truly amazing. My hat goes off to Rick [Bishop] and Nikki [Kett] for what they’ve done to get this team ready.”

“It was a snowball. To move up in the standings every day, and to be the highest-placing Big Ten team in the end, it gave them belief that, ‘Hey, I can do this.’ And look what happened.”

MacNeil won her second NCAA title in as many days, claiming gold in the 100-yard freestyle (46.02). Using her trademark underwaters, she zoomed past Virginia’s Kate Douglass on the back half of the race, coming home in 23.86. Her time broke the pool record previously held by Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel. MacNeil is now the third-fastest swimmer in history for the 100-yard freestyle, trailing Manuel and former Tennessee swimmer Erika Brown.

MacNeil is the first Michigan swimmer to win an NCAA title in a sprint freestyle event and becomes only the fourth Wolverine to win multiple NCAA titles in the same season, joining Mary Fischbach (1988: one-meter, three-meter), Lara Hooiveld (1993: 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard breaststroke) and Alecia Humphrey (1995: 100-yard backstroke, 200-yard backstroke).

Two races later, it was Carter — a Greensboro native swimming at home — standing atop the podium after a dominating win in the 200-yard butterfly (1:51.33). She was third at the halfway point, but surged into the lead thanks to a 28.35 split on the third 50. She came home in 29.38 to secure the win, finishing more than a second and a half ahead of runner-up Olivia Bray (Texas). Junior Victoria Kwan had her best swim of the week, finishing 24th (1:56.37).

The distance duo of Sierra Schmidt and Kaitlynn Sims each put an exclamation point on their seasons with podium finishes in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Schmidt, a senior captain, won the bronze medal (15:51.09), while Sims, this year’s Big Ten champion, was fifth (15:57.80). The two swimmers were next to each other in lanes one and two, and both moved up from their seeds on the pre-meet psych sheet (Schmidt in fifth, Sims in seventh). Prior to Saturday, the last time U-M had two swimmers make the podium in the 1,650-yard freestyle in the same year was 2007 (Emily Brunemann, Emily Hanson). Junior Caroline Sisson finished 36th (16:27.93).

Venter got things rolling in the morning with a huge swim to make the consolation final in the 200-yard backstroke, finishing 12th (1:52.19). During preliminaries, she moved up 16 spots from her seed and cut 1.71 seconds off her entry time — the largest time drop of the 49 swimmers in the field — vaulting to No. 2 on the program’s all-time top performers list behind Clara Smiddy (1:50.63). Freshman Kathryn Ackerman was 46th (1:57.46).

The Wolverines closed out the meet with an eighth-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:13.35). The two NCAA champions from the evening, MacNeil and Carter, took the front half, splitting 46.94 and 48.17, respectively. Freshman Sophie Housey (49.00) and Glass (48.58) comprised the back half.

NCAA Champions

Maggie MacNeil — 100-yard Freestyle, 100-yard Butterfly
Olivia Carter — 200-yard Butterfly

All-Americans

Maggie MacNeil — 100-yard Butterfly (1st), 100-yard Freestyle (1st), 50-yard Freestyle (2nd)
Olivia Carter — 200-yard Butterfly (1st), 100-yard Butterfly (6th)
Sierra Schmidt — 1,650-yard Freestyle (3rd), 500-yard Freestyle (4th)
Kaitlynn Sims — 1,650-yard Freestyle (5th)
Kathryn Ackerman — 400-yard IM (7th)

400-yard Freestyle Relay — Maggie MacNeil, Olivia Carter, Sophie Housey, Megan Glass (8th)

400-yard Medley Relay — Maggie MacNeil, Mariella Venter, Olivia Carter, Megan Glass (4th)

All-America Honorable Mentions

Sophie Housey — 200-yard Freestyle (T-14th)
Mariella Venter — 200-yard Backstroke (12th)

200-yard Freestyle Relay — Olivia Carter, Maggie MacNeil, Claire Newman, Megan Glass (16th)

800-yard Freestyle Relay — Sophie Housey, Megan Glass, Olivia Carter, Sierra Schmidt (10th)

200-yard Medley Relay — Maggie MacNeil, Mariella Venter, Olivia Carter, Megan Glass (16th)