BUDAPEST, Hungary –Canadians were on the podium again as records fell for a second straight night at FINA World Championships Wednesday in Budapest, Hungary.
The 4×100-m mixed medley relay team of Kylie Masse, Richard Funk, Penny Oleksiak and Yuri Kisil smashed the Canadian record with a time of three minutes, 41.25 seconds to tie China for bronze. Team USA won in its second world record of the day (3:38.56), followed by Australia in 3:41.21. All four countries and fifth-place Great Britain went under what had been the previous world record for the event, which joined the program in 2015 and will become an Olympic event for Tokyo 2020.
It’s the second medal of the championships for Masse. The 21-year-old from Windsor, Ont., took gold and set a world record in the women’s 100-m backstroke 24 hours earlier.
“It was such an incredible experience. That mixed relay is something I’ve never done before and isn’t offered at a lot of meets,” Masse said. “To be able to do it here at world championships was so much fun. To compete for other people as well makes it even better and is almost more motivating. You get more excited and there’s more energy so it was a really fun experience.”
Masse led off with a 58.22, fastest of the three female backstrokers and just off her 58.10 mark to put Canada sixth. Canada sat seventh after Funk’s breaststroke (59.14) and Oleksiak’s butterfly (56.18). Kisil then charged past Great Britain, Russia and Italy to vault Canada into the third-place tie. The Calgary native’s time of 47.71 was just 0.01 off his personal best relay split set in Canada’s seventh-place finish in the men’s 4×100-m freestyle relay at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
In the morning heat, Funk teamed with Javier Acevedo, Rebecca Smith and Chantal Van Landeghem, who also receive medals for advancing Canada to the final in third. That foursome held the Canadian record at 3:44.46 for a few hours. For Van Landeghem and Kisil it’s their second career medal each at worlds, the other coming in the 4×100-m mixed freestyle relay in 2015. Acevedo, Smith, Funk and Oleksiak, meanwhile, each claim their first medal at a long-course worlds.
“Great team performance tonight from the athletes, coaches and all the staff who prepared them,” said Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson. “We had a great heat swim, the team then worked on what they were going to do in the final when we switched in three new swimmers. To come away from a world championships with a bronze medal for seven athletes in what is now a new Olympic event in Tokyo is a tremendous effort.”
The national relay mark was Masse’s second Canadian record of the night.
She shaved 0.03 off her own previous best in the 50-m backstroke with a time of 27.64, but finished 10th, just 0.04 short of earning a spot in Thursday’s final. Masse now has a day to rest before the 200 back begins Friday. She and Hilary Caldwell of the High Performance Centre – Victoria enter that event both ranked in the top five. Caldwell, 26, owns Olympic and world championship bronze medals in the longer distance, but Masse out-touched her at Canadian Swimming Trials (2:07.23 to 2:07.29).
Kisil also swam an individual event earlier in the night. The 21-year-old from the High Performance Centre – Vancouver finished 10th in the 100-m freestyle semifinals with a time of 48.50.
“It was OK, not a bad time, but not really what I wanted to go. It was a learning experience,” said Kisil, whose only two faster times from a flat start came in Rio where he also finished 10th. “I messed up a couple things I could work on. I need to work on my touch, which was super long, and my breakout on the turn.”
The FINA World Championships run through Sunday. Finals begin at 11:30 am ET each day and will be streamed live by CBC in English at http://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/summer/aquatics and in French on Radio-Canada Sports Facebook Live.
Full results are available at http://www.omegatiming.com/Competition?id=000111010AFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF&day=2