GWANGJU, South Korea – Kylie Masse won the bronze medal in the women’s 200-m backstroke on Saturday for a Canadian record seventh pool medal at the FINA World Championships.
Masse, the 100-m backstroke champion earlier this week, also equals Penny Oleksiak as the most decorated female swimmer at worlds with four career medals and also ties Sydney Pickrem for the Canadian woman with the most individual medals at worlds with three.
Canada now has two gold and five bronze in the pool this week as well as an open water bronze last week for Eric Hedlin. The previous pool mark was six, set in 1978.
In the women’s 200-m backstroke, Regan Smith of the U.S. reinforced her dominance in the event clocking 2:03.69, 0.34 off her world record set in Friday’s semifinal. Kaylee McKeown of Australia won a heated battle for silver in 2:06.26 edging Masse, of the University of Toronto, in third in 2:06.62.
‘’I can’t complain,’’ said Masse. ‘’The time is not as fast as I’ve been but I’m really happy to be on the podium. I’m super happy for Regan and I think it will only push the backstroke field even faster. It definitely motivates me to get back to work and keep improving.’’
John Atkinson, Swimming Canada’s high performance director, praised Masse’s consistency in her performances.
‘’It was a great effort by Kylie on Day 7,’’ said Atkinson. ‘’A lot of credit is also due to her coaches Linda Kiefer and Byron Macdonald at the University of Toronto.’’
There was a hope for another Canadian podium in the mixed 4×100-m freestyle relay but the foursome came up 0.43 seconds short in a fourth-place finish still clocking a Canadian record 3:22.54. The Americans set a world record for the victory in 3:19.40, Australia was second in 3:19.97 and France was third in 3:22.11.
Markus Thormeyer of Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centre-Vancouver and HPC-Ontario swimmers Yuri Kisil, Taylor Ruck and Penny Oleksiak followed in fourth. Oleksiak swam a lifetime best anchor split of 52.00 to move Canada up from sixth but couldn’t quite catch France’s Marie Wattel despite making up more than a second on her.
‘’Everyone did a really good job,’’ said Kisil. ‘’I just know from my own swim there’s a lot I can improve on. It wasn’t the greatest time. I’m just proud of everyone stepping up.’’
‘’We tried to race to the best of our abilities,’’ added Ruck. ‘’It was hard, there was a huge waves from both sides and I thought we handled it well.’’
Atkinson was delighted with the big improvement by the team.
‘’They were over a second faster than they actually won a medal with back in 2017,’’ he noted. ‘’It was a great performance in fourth place, close, but we’ll come back tomorrow and get ready for the medley relays and the 400 individual medleys.’’
In the women’s 50-m butterfly final, Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden made it three world titles in a row clocking 25.02 seconds. Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands followed in 25.35 and Farida Osman of Egypt third in 25.47.
Oleksiak took sixth spot in 25.69, just 0.07 seconds off her Canadian record set at the 2017 worlds and the third fastest time of her career.
The eight-day meet continues through Sunday at the Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center.
FINA TV (https://www.finatv.live/en), CBC (https://www.cbc.ca/sports/broadcast) and Radio-Canada (https://ici.radio-canada.ca/sports/horaire-diffusions) will webcast finals live at 7 a.m. ET each day, with highlights on CBC’s Road to the Olympic Games show. Viewers can download the CBC broadcast schedule to sync with smartphone calendar apps here: http://calrep.ly/2JDCwxx.
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