Canadian swimmer Maggie MacNeil won gold medal in Korea. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canadian swimmer Maggie MacNeil swims to world gold

GWANGJU, Korea, Republic Of — Canadian swimmer Maggie MacNeil has won the country’s first gold medal at the world aquatics championships.

The 19-year-old from London, Ont., competing on her first senior national team, stunned many observers by winning the women’s 100 metre butterfly on Monday.

MacNeil set a Canadian record with a time of 55.83 seconds, 0.39 seconds ahead of reigning Olympic champ and world-record holder Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden.

Emma McKeon of Australia was third. Sjostrom had won the title four times.

Sjostrom took it out strong, dipping under her world-record pace on the first lap, while MacNeil was in fifth.

But MacNeil roared back with the fastest closing lap — 29.06 — of the eight-woman final and touched first.

After receiving their medals, the three women gathered on the top podium spot and raised their palms to the crowd, displaying a message to ailing 19-year-old Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee.

“Rikako never give up” it read, with hearts decorating their palms. Sjostrom came up with the idea.

Ikee announced in February that she has leukemia. She was the world junior champion in the 100 fly and had the fastest time in the world last year. She is aiming to return in time to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.

“We’re hoping this will show that we’re supporting her and we’re here if she needs anything,” said MacNeil.

Canada captured a second medal later Monday when U.S-Canadian dual citizen Sydney Pickrem took bronze in the women’s 200 metre individual medley.

Meanwhile, Kylie Masse of LaSalle, Ont., and Taylor Ruck of Kelowna, B.C., advanced to the final of the women’s 100 metre backstroke. Masse, the reigning world champ, won her semifinal.

It was MacNeil’s second medal in as many days. The University of Michigan student teamed with fellow teenagers Ruck, Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez to win bronze in the 4×100 metre freestyle relay on Sunday.

Canada now has one gold, two silver and three bronze medals at the two-week long event, featuring swimming, artistic swimming, diving and water polo.

— With files from The Associated Press

Just Posted

Search on Sylvan Lake continues for young Edmontonian who is presumed drowned

Palwinder Singh disappeared underwater after his inflatable flipped

Central Alberta farm family has been community-building since 1882

Kemp family of Innisfail receives 2019 Golden Furrow Award

Search on for missing man after tubing fun takes tragic turn on Sylvan lake

SYLVAN LAKE, Alta. — A young man is missing and presumed drowned… Continue reading

Ponoka RCMP lay charges following aggravated assault

The RCMP have arrested and laid charges against a man following an… Continue reading

Calgary police justified in shootout with suspect who killed himself in garage

CALGARY — A police watchdog has found that reasonable force was used… Continue reading

WATCH: Trailer stolen from Red Deer deli

A Red Deer business has contacted police after a trailer was stolen… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Thursday The Red Deer and District Garden Club hosts its annual Flower… Continue reading

China’s rust belt looks abroad as growth slows, tariffs bite

YINGKOU, China — From Thailand to Kenya, trains run on tracks from… Continue reading

Estate planning for Fido: How to make sure pets live the good life if you go

If four-year-old Gracie’s parents die, a trusted family member receives $10,000 from… Continue reading

CIBC hikes dividend as it reports third-quarter profit rise, beating estimates

TORONTO — The Canadian Imperial Bank Of Commerce hiked its dividend and… Continue reading

Fans choose sides in the ‘Chicken Sandwich War’ of our time

NEW YORK — A nation already polarized finds itself divided once again,… Continue reading

Rebels release training camp schedule

The Red Deer Rebels are set to get started in their pursuit… Continue reading

Opinion: SNC-Lavalin affair isn’t hurting PM in the polls

Even before the Liberals used their majority on a parliamentary committee on… Continue reading

Kodak Black expected to plead guilty in federal weapons case

MIAMI — Rapper Kodak Black is expected to plead guilty to federal… Continue reading

Most Read