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Kylie Masse wins Canada’s sixth medal at world short-course championships

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ABU DHABI – Kylie Masse won the silver medal in the women’s 200-m backstroke on Saturday for Canada’s sixth medal at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Abu Dhabi.

Masse led at the 100 and 150-m mark before being caught by Rhyan White of the U.S., first in 2:01.58. The Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Ontario star followed in 2:02.07 for her second silver of the competition. She was also second in the 100 back on Friday. Isabelle Stadden of the U.S. was third in 2:02.20.

Masse, a four-time Olympic medallist, was happy to continue Canada’s streak of medals on all three days, but was hoping for the win.

“I thought it was great to get on the podium, but the time is definitely not what I feel I’m capable of,” said Masse, whose Canadian record time of 2:01.45 would have been good for gold.

In the women’s 100-m freestyle, Kayla Sanchez of HPC-Ontario took fifth spot in 51.86 in her first individual final at a worlds or Olympics. Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong earned her second gold, clocking a meet record 50.98. Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden followed in 51.31 and Abbey Weitzel of the U.S. was third in 51.64.

“It felt a lot different not having the other girls with me as in the relays,” said Sanchez, a double relay medallist at the Tokyo Olympics who has two relay golds under her belt at this meet. “I found the individual experience emotionally draining, but for the first one I’m proud of it. Being fifth motivates me to want to get better.”

Sanchez fell short in her bid to qualify in the 100-m individual medley final ranking 11th in the semifinal but Bailey Andison of Smiths Falls, Ont., posted a personal best 58.74 to qualify sixth for Sunday’s final.

“I think I cleaned up all the tiny mistakes I made this morning,” said Andison, who ranked 12th in the prelims. “It made a big difference and I’m happy with that swim. It’s exciting to be in this final because I’m usually better in the endurance events.”

Joshua Liendo of HPC-Ontario continued his impressive drive at these worlds, lowering the Canadian record twice in the 50-m freestyle. He clocked 21.01 in the preliminaries and 20.88 in the semis to qualify second for Sunday’s final. Brent Hayden held the previous mark of 21.34 since 2009.

“I was just coming here to learn stuff,” said Liendo, 19, who broke national records in the 50-m and 100-m butterfly on Friday. “I wanted to see how I could get better, and it went a lot better than expected. It’s been great.”

It was also a big day for 20-year-old Finlay Knox of Okotoks, Alta., who reached his first senior level final clocking 51.99 in the 100-m IM semifinal to qualify sixth.

“It’s a quick event, you’ve just got to execute, all the turns, all the skills,” said Knox. “You have to have an awareness of who is around you but at the same time swim your own race.”

After three of six days of competition Canada stands with three gold (a team record) and three silver for a total of six medals.

“We still have a long way to go,” said Masse. “It’s all about balancing and managing the emotions and pressures of these meets but it’s been incredible to see the Canadian team step up and perform and even more amazing to see people put in the work every day.”

Summer McIntosh of HPC-Ontario had qualified for the women’s 800-m freestyle in a Canadian record 8:13.37 but withdrew to focus on the 400-m freestyle on Sunday and the 4×200-m freestyle relay on Monday.

Nine women and three men, all of whom represented Canada at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, are at the six-day event. Finals are at 9 a.m. ET each day on CBC digital platforms (, CBC Sports App and CBC GEM).

Competition continues through to Tuesday.

Full results: