Maggie Mac Neil swam the butterfly portion of the women’s 4×100-metre medley relay on Wednesday and helped Canada to victory for its 23rd medal in the pool at the Pan Am Games in Santiago, Chile.
It was the fifth win of these Games for Mac Neil, who passed fellow swimmer Jessica Deglau (1999) and two others for most gold medals by a Canadian at a single Pan Am Games.
The 23-year-old from London, Ont., has also won gold in women’s 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle along with relays in the 50 free and 100 free.
Table tennis player Lijuan Geng (1995) and gymnast Ernestine Russell-Carter (1959) also won four gold at a single Pan Am Games.
WATCH | Mac Neil puts forth strong butterfly leg in 100m medley relay win:
Featured VideoCanada captures gold in the women’s 4×100 medley relay at the Pan American Games. Maggie Mac Neil of London, Ont., sets a record for most gold medals by a Canadian at a single Pan Am Games with five.
Mac Neil was also a member of the mixed relay teams that picked up silver and bronze. She and Mary-Sophie Harvey each earned seven medals in Santiago, which is the most by a Canadian woman at a Pan Am Games.
Marianne Limpert and Joanne Malar (1995), Ralph Hutton (1967) and Deglau won six.
In Wednesday’s race, Danielle Hanus and Rachel Nicol put Canada in silver-medal position at the Aquatics Center following the backstroke and breaststroke. Enter Mac Neil, the reigning Olympic champion in the butterfly, with her team trailing the United States by 25-100ths of a second.
One hundred metres later, the Canadians had clocked a time of three minutes 4.94 seconds and led by 54-100ths as Harvey took over in the freestyle. With 50 metres left, Catie DeLoof cut into the deficit and Canada only led by 11-100ths, but Harvey held her off.
Mexico was awarded the bronze medal after a 4:04.73 performance, just 6-100ths ahead of Colombia.
Canadian swimmers amassed 25 medals in total in Santiago with 11 gold, the most at a Pan Ams held outside Canada.
WATCH | Mac Neil, Harvey, Nicol, and Hanus reflect on 100m medley relay win:
Featured VideoCanada’s Maggie Mac Neil, Rachel Nicol, Danielle Hanus and Mary-Sophie Harvey discuss their gold medal performance in the women’s 4×100-metre medley relay final at the Pan American Games.
Mac Neil didn’t taper to peak for the Pan Ams. She raced in a World Cup in Athens, less than a week out from Santiago’s opening ceremonies.
But she started strong on opening night when Mac Neil swam Canada’s third leg of the 4×100 freestyle relay.
The reigning Olympic champion in the women’s 100 butterfly then claimed gold in that distance Sunday in Pan Am Games record time.
Her hopes and expectations met in her signature event, Mac Neil then went to work in individual freestyle races, which are important to her because of relays.
“Once the 100 fly was over, I really wanted that title and that was the only thing I was really thinking going into the meet,” Mac Neil said. “Because it was my first time swimming freestyle internationally, I felt relaxed anyway. I had nothing really to lose.
“It was a lot of racing for me, but it’s always good practice, especially this early on in the season.”
Mac Neil was among the Canadian women who won an Olympic silver medal in the 4×100 freestyle relay as well as a medley bronze in Tokyo two years ago.
She wants to maintain her freestyle strength for the 2024 Summer Games relays.
“I want to be able to step up for them and hopefully we get another medal in Paris,” Mac Neil said.
Her Olympic debut in Tokyo felt sterile and locked down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mac Neil wanted to compete in Santiago as a dress rehearsal for a more hectic environment in Paris.
“The first thing is that it’s a Games environment and we didn’t really get much of that in Tokyo,” she said.
“So just practising kind of the uncontrollables, whether that’s food, a lot of walking, transportation mishaps, it’s all kind of part of the process and getting ready for what’s coming in Paris.”
Pickrem posts Games record
Earlier, Canada’s Sydney Pickrem made it two gold medals and one Pan Am Games record in Chile, cruising to victory in 2:09.04 in the women’s 200 individual medley.
Pickrem, 26, took down the Games record of 2:10.51 by Caitlin Leverenz of the United States from 2015 in Toronto.
WATCH | Pickrem gold, Harvey silver in women’s 200m individual medley:
Featured VideoCanadians Sydney Pickrem captures gold with a personal best time of 2.09:04, and teammate Mary-Sophie Harvey claims silver in the 200 metre individual medley at the Pan Am Games.
It is also 63-100ths faster than the Halifax native’s winning time in the event at the recent World Aquatics Swimming World Cup in Athens. In May, she was also victorious in the 200 IM in 2:08.89 at the London International Meet.
Making her second Pan Am Games appearance, Pickrem also captured gold on Monday in a 1-2 Canadian finish with Kelsey Wog.
The 2019 world bronze medallist, Pickrem boasts a 2:08.61 season best from the Canadian trials in March. It was a national record until 16-year-old Summer McIntosh topped it with a 2:08.08 effort earlier this year at a Pro Swim Series event in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Harvey of Trois-Rivieres, Que., finished behind Pickrem on Wednesday for silver in 2:11.92, while Helen Noble (2:14.19) of the United States took bronze.
WATCH | Pan Am Games Wednesday morning highlights from Santiago, Chile:
Featured VideoWatch some early action highlights from day six of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.
For the 24-year-old Harvey, the 200 IM silver represented her third podium finish of these Games. She was part of the winning relay team in the women’s 100 free on Saturday and prevailed the following day in the 200 free.
Harvey reached the medal podium in four of five events in her 2019 Pan Am Games debut in Lima, where she was spiraling into darkness.
Battling an eating disorder, mental health concerns and a lingering shoulder injury, Harvey had just missed making the senior team heading to the world championships and questioned her future in the sport. She was prepared to quit.
“I started to skip meals. I would barely have one meal a day,” Harvey told CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux recently. “I made the Pan Am team. I thought I’d be happy about that but afterwards I still felt empty.”
A month before those Lima Games, Harvey says she attempted suicide. She called her mom and went to the hospital to recover.
“I stayed at her place for a month and then went to Pan Ams,” Harvey said.
In the men’s 200 IM, Finlay Knox of Okotoks, Alta., overtook the field and claimed the first gold medal by Canadian men in the pool at these Games.
The 2021 Olympian touched the wall in 1:58.74, 1.15 seconds ahead of Arsenio Bustos of the U.S., while bronze went to Brazil’s Leonardo Coelho (2:00.58). Collyn Gagne of Milton, Ont., was fourth (2:00.79).
WATCH | Knox wins men’s 200m individual medley in 1:58.74:
Featured VideoFinlay Knox of Okotoks, Alta., won the Pan Am Games men’s 200-metre individual medley in a time of 1:58.74. Fellow countryman Collyn Gagne of Milton, Ont., finished in fourth place.
Canada wins 4 badminton gold medals
The final day of badminton competition in Santiago saw Canada take home gold in four of the five events.
Catherine Choi of Markham, Ont., and Edmonton’s Josephine Wu got things started on Wednesday with gold in women’s doubles, beating American twins Annie and Kerry Xu 2-1 (21-18, 10-21, 21-17).
The top-seeded Canadian duo reached the final without dropping a game.
WATCH l Choi, Wu win women’s doubles gold:
Featured VideoCanada’s Catherine Choi and Josephine Wu defeated the American pair of Annie and Kerry Xu 21-18, 10-21, 21-17 to take badminton doubles gold at the Pan Am Games.
Wu later returned to the court to help Canada win the mixed doubles gold-medal match, teaming up with Ty Lindeman of St. Alberta, Alta., to top Vinson Chiu and Jennie Gai of the U.S. 2-1 (17-21, 21-17, 21-19).
WATCH l Wu, Lindeman prevail in mixed doubles final:
Featured VideoCanada’s Ty Lindeman and Josephine Wu defeat Jennie Gai and Vinson Chiu of the United States 17-21, 21-17, 21-19 in the badminton mixed doubles gold medal match at the Pan An American Games. Wu collected her second gold after her victory with Catherine Choi in women’s doubles to start the day and the Canadian team would rack up four gold medals and add a bronze by the end of the session.
Canada also topped the men’s doubles podium.
Adam Dong of Burlington, Ont., and Nyl Yakura of Pickering, Ont., captured gold by beating Brazil’s Fabrício Farias and Davi Silva 2-1 (19-21, 21-15, 21-18).
WATCH l Yakura, Dong edge Brazil for gold in men’s doubles:
Featured VideoCanada’s Nyl Yakura and Xingyu Dong take gold for the red and white after defeating Brazil’s Davi Carvalho and Fabricio Rocha 19-21, 21-15, 21-18 in doubles badminton.
No. 1 seed Brian Yang won gold in men’s singles with a sweep of Kevin Cordón of Guatemala, who is part of the independent athletes team.
The 21-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., was perfect throughout the tournament, winning eight straight games after receiving a bye into the second round — upgrading his silver medal from the 2019 edition.
Top Canadian player Michelle Li, a four-time Pan Am games gold medallist, was forced to miss these Games due to an injury.
Canada leads the all-time Pan Am Games medal table in badminton with 60, including 25 gold.
WATCH l Yang tops men’s badminton podium:
Featured VideoRichmond Hill’s Brian Yang claimed Pan Am Games badminton singles gold Wednesday, defeating Independent Athletes Team member Kevin Cordon in straight sets 21-18, 21-6.
In track cycling, the Canadian quartet of Devaney Collier, Fiona Majendie, Kiara Lylyk and Ruby West won gold in women’s team pursuit with a victory over Mexico’s Lizbeth Salazar, María Gaxiola, Victoria Velasco and Yareli Acevedo in Wednesday’s final.
The Canadians clocked a time of 4:23.000 at the Velodromo Parque Penalolen.
“We used a young alternate who shows a lot of promise today and we managed to get it done with a really fast time, too,” said Canada coach Phil Abbott of Lylyk, who was a late substitute after Ngaire Barraclough withdrew due to illness.
WATCH | Day 6 late highlights:
Featured VideoWatch some of the best performances of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.
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