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Four finals for Canada tonight

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WINDSOR, Ont. – Victoria’s Sarah Darcel and Canada’s women’s 4×200-m freestyle relay will join Rachel Nicol of Lethbridge, Alta., and hometown girl Kylie Masse in finals tonight at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Windsor, Ont.

Darcel qualified eighth in the women’s 200-m individual medley with a time of 2:08.84. The 17-year-old national team rookie took more than two seconds off her previous personal best. The Junior Pan Pacific champion in the 400-m distance had already acquitted herself well with personal bests and 10th-place finishes in the 400 and 100 IM earlier in the meet. After missing the 100 final by only 0.01 Thursday, she said she made adjustments to take into Saturday morning’s heat.

“It was really good. I sharpened up a lot of the things that didn’t go well in my 100 and 400. Those (things) I touched up and tonight I’ll just try to take off a little bit more,” Darcel said.

“I’m just really happy to be here and be part of such an amazing experience. Whatever happens tonight, I’m just going to be overwhelmed and excited so it doesn’t matter,” she added regarding the prospect of competing at home in her first senior international final.

Darcel will swim for a medal tonight, along with Masse (50-m backstroke) and Nicol (100-m breaststroke), who advanced through Friday’s semifinals. They will be joined by the women’s 4×200 free relay. Kennedy Goss, Alexia Zevnik, Taylor Ruck and Penny Oleksiak moved through the morning heats in third with a time of 7:46.33

Three Canadians earned themselves a Lane 4 in tonight’s semifinals by advancing from morning heats in second position.

Calgary’s Yuri Kisil touched the wall at 46.79 in the 100-m freestyle. The 21-year-old from the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Vancouver smashed his previous personal best by more than a second.

Michelle Williams of the High Performance Centre – Ontario followed up with a women’s 50-m freestyle personal best of 24.04. Sandrine Mainville of Boucherville, Que., will join her in tonight’s semifinals after advancing 10th in 24.35, also an all-time best. Meanwhile, Katerine Savard made a strong return to the international 100-m butterfly scene with prelim time of 56.75.

Edmonton’s Richard Funk of the HPC-Ontario missed out on the 50-m breaststroke semifinal by just 0.01, his time of 26.78 was an all-time best but left him in 17th place.

Funk then won a swim-off against Tommy Sucipto of Australia in 26.86, earning him top alternate spot should a semifinalist drop out.

Savard’s fellow Pont-Rouge, Que., native Audrey Lacroix, finished 21st in the final race of her national team career.

“It’s been an emotional week. I didn’t do as well as I expected and this morning I think I was just a little bit tired,” Lacroix said.

The 33-year-old competed for Canada at three Olympics, and her career highlights included gold medals at the Commonwealth and Pan Am Games. She fought back tears in the post-race mixed zone as she reflected on her last race taking place on home soil.

“Regarding the fact that it’s my last race, I think I’m less emotional than I thought I would be. I was way more emotional at the Olympics, I think that was my big last race. Here I just came to have fun, I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “I don’t think I would have gone if it had been somewhere else. That was an experience I definitely wanted. I got to swim in an amazing pool and it was at home.”

The morning session opened with the men’s 4×50-m medley relay setting a Canadian record of 1:37.89. With Javier Acevedo battling flu-like symptoms, HPC-Victoria freestyler Jeremy Bagshaw stepped in for the backstroke leg. He combined with Jason Block, Mack Darragh and Mirando Jarry to establish the new national mark, which left Canada just outside the final in 10th place.

The world short-course championships wrap up Sunday. With two finals sessions 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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