Mac Neil adds Pan Am gold to her butterfly medal collection
SANTIAGO, Chile — Maggie Mac Neil added a Pan American Games gold medal to her Olympic gold in the women's 100-metre butterfly Sunday.
The 23-year-old from London, Ont., set a Pan Am Games record of 56.94 seconds. The Canadian led at the turn and beat runner-up Kelly Pash of the United States by just under a second.
Mac Neil said she was nervous before the race, likely her only opportunity to claim Pan Am gold in her illustrious career.
"It's one of the only titles I didn't have yet so I really felt the pressure on myself to get it, but I'm really happy with that," said Mac Neil. "I haven't been under 57 this year so I just want to improve from there. I'm glad I could do that."
Team Canada added five gold, four silver and three bronze to its medal total on Sunday. Canada now has nine gold medals, six silver and six bronze for a total of 21. Only the U.S. (19) and Mexico (10) have more gold medals.
Mac Neil was a triple medallist in Tokyo's Olympic Games two years ago with butterfly gold, as well as silver and bronze relay medals.
Her teammate Marie-Sophie Harvey of Trois-Rivieres, Que., claimed her first Pan Am Games gold with a victory in the women's 200-metre freestyle.
The 24-year-old's time of one minute 58.08 bested Brazilian silver medallist Marie Silva Da Costa's time of 1:58.12.
Mac Neil and Harvey earned their second gold medals in as many days Santiago, Chile after helping the women's freestyle relay team win on the first day of swimming.
They also combined with Finlay Knox of Okotoks, Alta., and Toronto Javier Acevedo for a bronze medal in the mixed relay.
Also, Winnipeg's Skylar Park captured taekwondo gold in the women's 57-kg class. The oldest of three Park siblings competing in the sport in Santiago, Park defeated Brazil's Maria Clara Pacheco in the final bout.
The youngest member of Canada's team in Santiago at 13, Toronto skateboarder Fay De Fazio Ebert became the first Pan Am champion in the women's park event.
Skateboarding made it's Pan Am debut in Santiago.
"It's crazy," De Fazio Ebert said. "I keep getting texts from the friends and family saying 'so proud of you. You did such a good job.'
"It really feels amazing."
Olympic weightlifting champion Maude Charron of Rimouski, Que., earned a Pan Am silver in the women's 59-kilogram class.
A day after Canadian mountain bikers claimed men's and women's cross-country gold, another cyclist reached the podium Sunday with Molly Simpson of Red Deer, Alta., taking silver in BMX.
"Honestly, I think that was the craziest race I've ever raced," said Simpson, who was the U-23 women's bronze medallist at the 2022 UCI BMX Racing World Championships. "Came out of lane five and decent start, just tried to get over but there was carnage, people were hitting tires and it was just crazy.
"I did my best to get out of that and hold that second spot. … It just shows that I'm almost there and I've just got to keep working and I'm really enjoying it."
Swimmer Hugh McNeill of Langley, B.C., added to Canada's medal haul at the pool with a bronze medal in the men's 200-metre backstroke.
"I feel really good. It was a good race," said McNeill. "Even though I wasn't with the top two, being able to compete for the bronze was very good."
In diving, Rylan Wiens of Saskatoon, Sask., and Nathan Zsombor-Murray of Pointe-Claire, Que., captured silver in the men's synchronized 10-metre platform event.
In the women's one-metre springboard, Pamela Ware of Greenfield Park, Que., won gold while Mia Vallee of Kirkland, Que., claimed silver.
In artistic gymnastics, the Canadian women collected bronze in the team event. The following athletes qualified for individual events: Ava Stewart of Bowmanville, Ont., all-around, uneven bars, balance beam; Sydney Turner of Port Coquitlam, B.C., floor exercise; and Aurelie Tran of Repentigny, Que., all-around, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2023.