GREENSBORO, N.C. – Canadian world champions Kylie Masse and Maggie MacNeil each launched their Olympic season with wins Saturday at the opening event on the Pro Swim Series circuit.
In the women’s 100-m backstroke, Masse clocked 59.88 seconds for the victory. Isabelle Stadden of the U.S. was second in 1:00.24 and her compatriot Ali Deloof third at 1:01.27. Kennedy Goss of Toronto was eighth in 1:02.61.
‘’Coming in here, I didn’t really know what to expect of myself,’’ said Masse, the two-time defending world champion from Windsor, Ont. ‘’I just came off a training camp in Florida for the past week and didn’t really know where I was going to be at, but it’s great to get long-course racing in, especially early on in the fall.”
Masse was still hoping for a better time.
“I would have liked to have been faster. I think swimmers always want to keep improving, I was hoping to be down in the 58 second range but I’ll take it. I’ll definitely look at my race and see what I can improve on.”
In the women’s 100-m butterfly, MacNeil was fourth at the turn but roared to the finish for the win in 57.64, fastest in the world so far this season. Torri Huske of the U.S. was second in 58.32 and her compatriot Kendyl Stewart third in 58.86.
“I’m now more motivated than ever,’’ said MacNeil, from London, Ont., who won a stunning gold over Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom in the event at the worlds this past summer in South Korea. ‘’I just need to keep this going throughout the season.”
MacNeil was also fourth in the 50-m freestyle in 25.41.
There were also two fourth-place finishes for Canada on the men’s side. Josiah Binnema of Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centre-Vancouver was fourth in the 100 fly in 53.61 and Eli Wall of Toronto fourth in the 200-m breaststroke in 2:16.23.
Alexander Pratt of HPC Vancouver was sixth in the 800 free in 8:17.33.