TOKYO – Summer McIntosh, the 14-year-old phenom from Toronto, didn’t disappoint in her Olympic debut Sunday night, breaking the Canadian record to advance to the women’s 400-m freestyle final in day two heats at the Olympic Games.
McIntosh, the youngest Canadian Olympic team member, clocked four minutes and 02.72 seconds to eclipse the previous national mark of 4:03.43 set by Brittany MacLean at the 2016 Rio Games. She was third in her heat and fifth overall. The final is Sunday night in Canada (Monday morning in Tokyo).
Defending champion Katie Ledecky of the U.S., 11 years older than McIntosh, topped the heats in 4:00.45
“It was so incredible,” said Mcintosh about her first Olympic experience. “It was amazing to race these remarkable swimmers from all over the world. I wasn’t expecting a certain time I was just trying to be around my best time or under so I’m really happy with it.”
Also headed to a final is Canada’s men’s 4×100-m freestyle relay which featured Brent Hayden returning from a nine-year hiatus. Hayden led off with a 48.41 split as Canada took fourth in its heat and seventh overall. Joshua Liendo, Ruslan Gaziev and Yuri Kisil followed Hayden and clocked 3:13.00.
“I’m excited to be back in that Olympic final and I wouldn’t want to be doing it with any other three guys, they were amazing,” said Hayden, the 100 free bronze medallist at London 2012. “I had hoped to be a bit faster but it got us in there and these guys carried us the rest of the way.”
“It was so great,” added Liendo, in his first career Olympic race. “Our goal from the beginning was to get it going and get another shot.”
Meanwhile, two-time defending world champion Kylie Masse looked sharp in her dominant 100-m backstroke heat to easily advance to the semifinals.
Masse won her heat and ranked third overall in 58.17, which was an Olympic record for about three minutes before Regan Smith of the U.S. and Kaylee McKeown of Australia won the following heats in 57.96 and 57.88.
“This field is incredibly deep and challenging,” said Masse, the 2016 bronze medallist in Rio who followed that performance with world titles in 2017 and 2019. “I know it’s going to be fast for the next rounds so I’m seizing every opportunity to race and get some good times in there.”
Taylor Ruck of Kelowna, B.C. was third in Masse’s heat in 59.89 for 11th overall to also advance to the semis which is reserved for the top-16 from the heats.
Masse, 25 from LaSalle, Ont., said she’d never seen something like the Olympic record being broken three times in morning heats.
“For me this is part of the process. I was thinking one step at a time and to put together a good race here. I was super happy to achieve the Olympic record briefly but in the end it all comes down to the final.”
Markus Thormeyer of Delta, B.C. (53.80) and Cole Pratt of Calgary (54.27) were 19th and 26th in the men’s 100-m backstroke heats and did not advance.
Kelsey Wog of Winnipeg (1:07.73) and Kierra Smith of Kelowna, B.C., (1:07.87) ranked 23rd and 24th in the women’s 100-m breaststroke heats and did not advance.
Action resumes Sunday evening with semis and finals starting at 9:30 p.m. (ET). Also swimming for Canada is world champion Maggie Mac Neil in the women’s 100-m butterfly final.