MacNeil, Schmidt, Relay Swim to All-America Honors on Day Two at NCAAs

MacNeil, Schmidt, Relay Swim to All-America Honors on Day Two at NCAAs

3/18/2021 10:12:00 PM

// Brad Rudner

» After two days at the NCAA Championships, Michigan is in 9th place.

» Junior Maggie MacNeil swam to a runner-up finish in the 50-yard freestyle. She lowered her previously-held Big Ten and U-M records to 21.17.

» Senior Sierra Schmidt finished fourth in the 500-yard freestyle, jumping up 52 spots from her place on the pre-meet psych sheet.

» The 400-yard Medley Relay jumped up five spots from their pre-meet seed to finish fourth. MacNeil led off in 49.76, a school record. It also made her the second woman in history to break 50 seconds in both the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke.

Site: Greensboro, N.C. (Greensboro Aquatic Center)
Event: NCAA Championships (Day 2 of 4)
U-M Team Standing: 9th place (78 points)
Next U-M Event: Friday, March 19 — at NCAA Championships – Day Three (Greensboro, N.C.), 10 a.m./6 p.m.

• Complete Results (PDF)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — All-American performances from junior Maggie MacNeil (50-yard freestyle), senior Sierra Schmidt (500-yard freestyle) and the 400-yard medley relay paced the University of Michigan women’s swimming and diving team on the second day of the NCAA Championships on Thursday (March 18) at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. After two days of competition, the Wolverines sit in ninth place (78 points).

MacNeil came into Thursday’s final as the third seed in the 50-yard freestyle. She was fifth after the opening 25 yards, but made it an exciting race coming home, finishing with the fastest closing split of the field. MacNeil touched in 21.17 for second, re-establishing her Big Ten and U-M records. She is now tied with U.S. Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel as the fourth-fastest performer in history.

At the end of the meet, MacNeil led off the 400-yard medley relay in 49.76, etching her name in the history books as the second woman to ever crack 50 seconds in both the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly. Sophomore Mariella Venter, a natural backstroker, followed on breaststroke, then junior Olivia Carter on butterfly. Sophomore Megan Glass anchored in 48.63, beating Tennessee by .06 seconds to the wall to secure fourth place. The foursome’s time of 3:29.75 is an improvement over both their pre-meet seed (ninth) and their performance at last month’s Big Ten Championships (3:29.84).

The other noteworthy performance from Thursday came from Schmidt, who greatly outperformed her seed to finish fourth in the 500-yard freestyle (4:39.30), earning All-America honors. The performance represented a huge improvement after she finished 12th (4:47.11) in the event at the Big Ten Championships. She came into the race Thursday ranked last, meaning she had to swim in the first heat, but dropped seven seconds to make the final. Of the 52 swimmers who swam the event on Thursday, only four went faster than their entry time.

Two others finished outside of scoring range: sophomore Kaitlynn Sims in 24th (4:45.19) and junior Caroline Sisson in 46th (4:49.55). Junior Victoria Kwan was the sole swimmer in the 200-yard IM, finishing 35th (1:58.50). For all three of them, it was their first swims at an NCAA Championships meet.

Senior Nikki Canale, the lone Michigan diver at the meet this week, was in action on the one-meter springboard, taking 39th (247.00).

The Wolverines started the night picking up a few points with a 16th-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay, as the foursome of Carter, MacNeil, freshman Claire Newman and Glass clocked in at 1:29.00. MacNeil had the second-fastest split of the field (21.13).

The NCAA Championships continue Friday (March 19) at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. Preliminaries begin at 10 a.m. and finals begin at 6 p.m. Both events will be streamed live on ESPN3.