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Masse, Nicol advance to finals at Windsor worlds

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WINDSOR, Ont. – Kylie Masse put herself in position to compete for another medal in front of a hometown crowd Friday at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Windsor, Ont.

Masse was fastest off the blocks in Friday’s 50-m backstroke semifinals and ended up advancing to Saturday’s final in fifth position. The 20-year-old’s time of 26.34 lowered her own Canadian record set in a relay earlier in the meet.

“It felt better than this morning. This morning felt a bit more sloppy and rushed. I don’t know how to describe it but tonight felt a lot smoother. I’m happy with that,” said Masse, who already has a silver medal in the 100-m at these championships.

“I definitely was a bit more nervous before the beginning but after having swum (a few events) now it’s definitely taken the nerves away a bit.”

“I definitely was a bit more nervous before the beginning but after having swum (a few events) now it’s definitely taken the nerves away a bit.” – Kylie Masse

Meanwhile, Rachel Nicol of Lethbridge, Alta., also advanced to a final, turning in a personal best time of 1:05.15 in her women’s 100-m breaststroke semifinal. That’s good for sixth seed heading into Saturday’s final, a big jump from the 15th position in which she entered semifinals.

“The morning wasn’t really representative of the training that I’ve been doing so I wasn’t very happy with it. It was really nice that I was able to come back and improve upon it for sure,” said the 23-year-old Rio Olympic finalist.

“I’m just enjoying the experience. It’s my first ever world final long course or short so coming off the final from Rio I think it will be fun just to kind of enjoy the home crowd and atmosphere and really take it in. I love this pool because it’s in a hockey rink and there’s so many lights and the music is awesome so I’m really excited just to see the atmosphere really.”

Kierra Smith of West Kelowna, B.C., finished 12th in 1:05.45, also a personal best.

Earlier in the evening, Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., finished sixth in the women’s 50-m butterfly in a time of 25.51. That was a quarter-second faster than her best time and took 0.09 off the Canadian record held by Noemie Thomas from the 2012 edition of these championships in Istanbul.

“It’s just proof I’m capable of getting off to an even faster start tomorrow,” said Savard, an Olympic bronze medallist in the 4×200-m free relay.

She’s looking forward to returning to her signature 100-m butterfly distance, which begins Friday morning.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve done a 100-m (butterfly) at a high level like this, but we’ll see what I can do,” she said.

The world short-course championships run through Sunday. With two days to go, Canada’s total of four medals is the most since the 2004 championships in Indianapolis. Canada’s best ever medal total was eight in Hong Kong in 1999.

Preliminary heats are at 9:30 a.m. each morning, with finals set for 6:30 p.m. each night. is streaming the championships beginning Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. ET at

Sportsnet One will also be airing a highlight show each morning at 6 a.m. ET.

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