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MAY 2020 THE WOLVERINE 29 It didn't seem to harm MacNeil, who earned six Big Ten titles. She won the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly, while swimming on the victorious 400-yard freestyle, 200-yard medley and 400-yard medley relay crews. "The last month has been a whirl- wind," MacNeil admitted. "I was really excited to see what our team could do at NCAAs, because we were coming off a great Big Tens." Then the NCAA Championships never arrived. The swimmers not only weren't prepping for the high- light meet of the year, they needed to vacate the premises altogether. "We found out that all meets and practices had been canceled," she recalled. "That was the challenging part. We couldn't train there. So that night, I called my mom and told her I was coming home." Home is only a two-and-a-half- hour drive from Ann Arbor, so Mac- Neil packed her bags and made it home by 8 p.m. that same night. It bought her an extra day of working out with a group. "I wasn't sure how the border situation was going to be, as far as getting back there," she said. "It worked out. I got a day of swimming in with my club team, before it shut down. It's just been a crazy couple of weeks." One of four finalists for the coveted Honda Award in her sport, MacNeil suddenly isn't focused on her sport in addition to her studies. With the Tokyo Olympics postponed to next summer, the surprise 2019 world champion in the 100-meter butterfly will take a dip in the heated home pool, just to keep a feel for the water, but she's not working out. She's also setting aside thoughts of her sport remaining sidelined into next year. "I'm just trying to get through my classes now online," she said. "Some of my friends are convinced that next year will be online too. "I'm trying to just focus on that and keep positive. If anything changes too much going into next year, it will defi- nitely be harder to see the bright side." The overall bright side for MacNeil involves two more years of eligibility to get even better. "It's kind of bittersweet," she said. "I didn't mind it too much, because I still have two more years. It's not like the end of the world for me. But I felt really bad for the seniors who missed out on their last chance for the NCAAs." Elite and improving, MacNeil looks forward to swimming on by the chance taken away. ❑ Another Trio Worth Considering Talent abounded in Michigan women's athletics this season. Here are three other finalists for Michigan Female Athlete of the Year: • Guadalupe Fernandez Lacort (field hockey) — The senior earned National Field Hockey Coaches Association first-team All-America honors this season, as well as becoming the Big Ten Player of the Year. She posted three goals and 12 assists as a defensive ace on a unit that allowed only 1.06 goals and 5.2 shots per game. • Naz Hillmon (basketball) — A unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection, the sophomore became a finalist for the Katrina McClain Award, given to the top power forward in the nation. She averaged 17.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, becoming only the fourth sophomore in Michigan history to reach 1,000 career points. • Paige Jones (volleyball) — Jones earned unanimous All-Big Ten first-team honors, and was named an All-North Region first-team pick and third-team All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. The sophomore ranked third in the Big Ten in kills per set (3.92). — John Borton In two years at Michigan, MacNeil has won 10 Big Ten championships and earned 14 All- America honors. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY MacNeil "I never swam yards before my freshman year. Going into sophomore year, I put more pressure on myself, because I knew what the times meant. I put pressure on myself to go faster this year."

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