Canadian swimmer Maggie Mac Neil is dominating at Pan Am Games — and can see the scoreboard


SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — This time, Canadian Olympic gold medalist swimmer Maggie Mac Neil didn’t need her glasses to look…

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — This time, Canadian Olympic gold medalist swimmer Maggie Mac Neil didn’t need her glasses to look at the scoreboard and see that she had won a race.

The 23-year-old Mac Neil, who famously squinted to see how she had placed in Tokyo three years ago, has dominated the Pan American Games this month, winning four gold medals, one silver and one bronze. Both races she didn’t win were relays.

The latest for the China-born Canadian was Tuesday’s gold in the 50-meter freestyle, in which Mac Neil tied with United States’ Gabi Albiero at 24.84 seconds. The swimmer immediately looked at the scoreboard after her victory and showed the public in Santiago she knew she had the gold.

“I have my prescription goggles now so I don’t have to squint, which is quite enjoyable for me,” Mac Neil told The Associated Press after a race the butterfly specialist doesn’t compete in often. “It’s so exciting to do the 50. It’s such a close race all the way. So to be able to tie with Gabi, that was really exciting.”

Mac Neil won three medals at her Olympic debut in Tokyo; bronze in the 400-meter medley relay, silver in the 400-meter freestyle relay, and gold in the 100-meter butterfly. Her squinting to see how she had placed became a meme that had made her laugh ever since.

As the Canadian prepares for the Paris Olympics, she sees the Pan American Games as a good dress rehearsal, despite the fact she did not face her main rivals in Chile.

“I didn’t think I’d come away with gold in three of my three individual events, so I’m really happy with it,” Mac Neil said. “Also, the crowd has been amazing. We were lacking that in Tokyo, unfortunately. So any time you can just get the atmosphere going, it really pumps you up. It is good to practice that too.”

Mac Neil has her final race in Chile on Wednesday, the 400-meter medley relay. After that, she will travel the country with her mother, Susan, before going back to training.

“I’m always a hard critic on myself, and I have to remind myself that it is only October. The best times being close enough (to the Olympics) is a big deal for me,” Mac Neil said.

Mac Neil wants to see more of Santiago, go down Chile’s coast and spend a day in the mountains. The swimmer will bring her prescription goggles, ensuring she continues not to squint as she enjoys her success in South America.


AP sports:

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