The Canadian and American raked in the prize money as they won the 100m butterfly & 100m backstroke races, respectively, on Saturday evening in Toronto.
Canada’s Maggie Mac Neil gave the Toronto crowd something to cheer for on the final night of the FINA Swimming World Cup as she became the third swimmer to break 55 seconds in the 100m butterfly with a 54.78.
Mac Neil, who is only racing in this stop of the FINA Swimming World Cup before she heads back to school at Louisiana State University, out-raced Sweden’s Louise Hansson (55.02), who also scored a best time to sit fourth on the all-time list. Those two have gone back and forth the last few years in the short course realm after racing each other in the US collegiate system as well as last year’s Short Course World Championships.
“I’m really happy with my 100m fly on the last day which was a challenge,” Mac Neil said. “The Olympics, World Championships it was on the first day. It’s something I’m learning to manage. I’m really happy with that but there’s always room for improvement.”
It was Canada’s lone win of the day as the World Cup will head down south to Indianapolis next week. “It means so much to have their support,” Mac Neil said. “It’s been great to have them all cheering in the crowd.”
Mac Neil scored 58.5 points as the overall women’s winner for the Toronto stop, while the men’s race was won by Shaine Casas of the United States for scoring the same amount of points. Casas won the 100m backstroke with a 48.84, the sixth fastest performance of all-time as he is the third fastest man overall in the event. The time is also faster than anyone has swum in a World Cup meet.
“Yes it’s great (to set a world cup record),” Casas said. “You can't really be mad at first (place). Like I said yesterday, I just wanna swim fast.
“Good time, great racing, I showed out compared to last week so pretty excited about that. The time was a little bit off, but I have one more chance, we’ll see how next week goes.”
Triple Doubles in Play
Despite scoring the most points of anyone in Toronto, Casas is still fifth on the overall points standings while Trinidad & Tobago’s Dylan Carter is leading with 114.5 points in a tie with USA’s Nic Fink (114.5).
On Sunday, both Carter and Fink had to fight for their wins, with Carter winning the 50m butterfly (22.28) over Chad Le Clos (22.45), and Fink winning the 200m breaststroke at 2:03.78 over Caspar Corbeau (2:04.17).
“I was tired,” Fink said. “These guys were coming after me. I tried to get my hands on the wall first, that was the goal. I knew where they were and I knew that they were going to come back pretty fast.
“I wasn’t feeling 100% so I’m happy that I got a solid one under the belt. Definitely happy with the results here and now it’s onto Indy.”
Carter has a chance for a hat trick next week in Indianapolis as he could sweep three wins in the 50m freestyle, backstroke, and butterfly.
“It was phenomenal,” Carter said. “I’ve never been in a position like that before so looking forward to challenging for that next week, one meet at a time one race at a time.”
Those two lead the overall points standings with three days in Indianapolis left, as Matthew Sates (111), Chad Le Clos (110.2), and Shaine Casas (107.4) are within striking distance of winning the overall title. Fans in Indianapolis will get a chance to see who can best manage their energy across the three days and who can get closest to the existing world records as the lead will definitely switch hands over the next few sessions.
Nelson scored an impressive double, winning the 200m backstroke at 2:00.50, turning under world record pace at 100 meters, before putting up the 22nd fastest time in history.
“I really wanted to push it tonight in this great field of ladies,” Nelson said. “I am really happy with this one. We have another stop (in Indianapolis) so I was racing to be competitive and to enjoy this experience. If I swim faster than the world record, that’s great, but I am just here to enjoy the process.”
Nelson closed the day with a win in the 200m IM at 2:05.08 in a heat of seven Canadians. Nelson utilized her stellar underwaters to win both her races as she has shown why she is one of the best short course swimmers in the world. Nelson has a chance for a triple crown next week to potentially win all three stops in the 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, and 200m IM.
“Today was a big one for me,” Nelson said. “It’s always a choice if I do them both. Today was fun, was right off a personal best in the 2 back and I think that might’ve been a personal best in the IM. Just try to take the momentum with me. It’s been such a great first world cup experience.
“I’m hoping the Americans can match it next week. Indy is such a special pool. I have a lot of great meets there. Hopefully, it can match this.” Nelson will have the benefit of a familiar pool next week as she goes for the overall title in Indianapolis.
The aforementioned Haughey was successful in winning the 100m freestyle at 51.33 in a tight race with France’s Gastaldello (51.67). Haughey has successfully won the 100m and 200m freestyles in both Berlin and Toronto as she will go for the triple-double next week in the United States. The 100m freestyle time is not the best for Haughey but it was the 57th fastest time in the event.
“Yeah I’m pleased,” Haughey said. “A little tired right now, so I’m glad I could finish off the last event of the night in a pretty decent time. Tomorrow’s my birthday so I really want to end 24 with a good win and I’m really happy with it.
“I think it’s important to learn how to compete when you’re still tired. Your physical state matters a lot but also mentally you have to train yourself to be tough and keep going even when you’re tired.”
Both Matthew Sates and Ruta Meilutyte will have a chance for a hat trick next week as they both were repeat winners in Toronto. Sates started the day winning the 400m IM at 4:02.65, while Meilutyte held off Lilly King to win the 50m breaststroke at 28.96 to King’s 29.20.
“It’s been a while since I did three consecutive competitions every weekend in a row,” Meilutyte said, who initially retired in 2019 but returned in late 2021. “I’m excited to finish off this tour. Never been to Indianapolis so it’s going to be interesting.”
Sates got close to winning the 200m freestyle, but he was beaten to the wall by USA’s Brooks Curry (1:42.32), while Sates was fourth at 1:42.46.
Egypt’s Marwan El Kamash also won the men’s 800m freestyle with a 7:45.09.