Canada's Taylor Ruck repeats as 200-yard freestyle champ at NCAA women's swimming finals

Taylor Ruck, of Kelowna, B.C., defended her 200-yard freestyle title on Friday at the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Knoxville, Tenn. Fellow Canadian Maggie Mac Neil also swam to a silver medal in the 100-yard butterfly.

Fellow Canadian Maggie Mac Neil earns silver in 100-yard butterfly

A swimmer, wearing a white swim cap and goggles perched on her forehead, takes a breath while floating at the side of a pool wall.
Canadian swimmer Taylor Ruck, shown in this July 2021 file photo, captured her second consecutive NCAA title in the women;'s 200-yard freestyle final on Friday in Knoxville, Tenn. (File/The Canadian Press)

Canada's Taylor Ruck defended her 200-yard freestyle title on Friday at the NCAA Division I Women's Swimming and Diving Championships in Knoxville, Tenn.

The 22-year-old from Kelowna, B.C. –  swimming in her final meet for Stanford – finished the race in one minute 42.36 seconds, just five-hundredths of a second ahead of fellow Canadian Brooklyn Douthwright.

The Riverview, N.B., swimmer finished second for Tennessee in 1:42.41.

"That last 50 was getting pretty close," Ruck said in a release. I just tried to not breathe, put my head down and did my best to race Brooklyn. It feels pretty good.

"I tend to go out pretty fast. I guess just trying to keep my speed towards the third and fourth 50 is something I've been focusing on this season."

Fellow Canadian Maggie Mac Neil also swam to a silver medal for Louisiana State in the 100-yard butterfly on Friday, swimming a personal best 48.51 seconds, just behind winner Kate Douglass of Virginia.

A female swimmer opens her mouth to take a deep breath while speeding through the water during a butterfly event.
Canada's Maggie Mac Neil, pictured at the world short course championships in December 2022, won the women's 50-metre freestyle event in an NCAA-record time of 20.79 seconds on Thursday at the NCAA swimming championship in Knoxville, Tenn. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

"The scoreboard is hard to read even with my glasses on. I wasn't sure what I placed, there was a camera in my face, I didn't actually know what I went until I got on the podium and saw that was actually a pretty decent time," said the famous scoreboard-squinter. "Going the second-fastest time in history was pretty good."

Mac Neil's silver medal came a day after the three-time Olympic medallist from London, Ont., won a 50-yard national title for LSU in an NCAA-record 20.79 seconds.

Mac Neil also had high praise for her Canadian Olympic teammate, Ruck.

"That was so amazing to watch Tay back up her swimming from last year," Mac Neil said. "Her strategy always kind of gives me a scare because she tends to go out fast and try to hang on at the end. It was a great race and Canadians going 1-2 is amazing.

"Getting an NCAA title is one thing, but to do it back-to-back is really incredible."

The meet wraps Saturday with both Mac Neil and Ruck expected to compete in the 100-yard freestyle event.

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