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Kharun continues crushing records for Canada

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MELBOURNE, Australia – Another day, another record for Ilya Kharun.

Make that two records Saturday for Team Canada’s only rookie at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Melbourne, Australia.

The Montreal-born, Las Vegas-based Kharun lowered his national mark in 100-m butterfly to 49.66 in his morning heat. He took off another hundredth of a second to 49.65 in his semifinal. That’s good for fifth spot heading into Sunday’s final.

“It was great. I’m a bit tired right now, but overall it’s a great feeling,” said Kharun, 17, who has a relay bronze, eight Canadian records and three world junior record swims this week. “Hopefully I’ll be good tomorrow.”

Kharun was one of three Canadians to advance through semifinals on the penultimate day of world short-course championships. Canada has nine medals (2G-2S-5B) after Day 5 of the six-day meet at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.

“It’s been a great week so far with strong performances through the semifinals tonight to set up for a great final night,” said Team Leader Iain McDonald. “Session after session the team has gotten up and accomplished what’s needed to be done to get to the next step. That’s what we see them doing again tonight. Everybody is continuing to stay focused and perform well through a busy, challenging event schedule.”

In the women’s 100-m butterfly, Canada got two women through to the final. Defending champion Maggie Mac Neil, fresh off her 50-m backstroke world record swim Friday, went 55.83 in her semi to earn the third seed. Katerine Savard of Montreal’s CAMO club advanced in eighth at 56.44. It was a double for Mac Neil, who swam the women’s 4×50-m medley relay about a half hour earlier in the session.

“I got done what I needed to get done and I’ll hopefully fix everything tomorrow and have a good last individual race,” said the 22-year-old London Aquatic Club product, who has four medals here including gold in the 50-m butterfly.

The women’s 4×50-m medley relay kicked the night off for Canada in record-setting fashion.

The team of Kylie Masse, Sydney Pickrem, Mac Neil and Taylor Ruck combined for a time of 1:43.56 to finish fourth. That was 0.6 seconds faster than the previous record Masse, Pickrem, Mac Neil and Kayla Sanchez set at last year’s event in Abu Dhabi, where they also finished fourth.

“For us to do a 50 is always fun. Really none of us specialize in a 50 so it’s nice that we get to do it all together,” Pickrem said.  “Fourth in the world is not bad with all of them being a lot of sprint girls, so it feels good to just get our hand on the wall and see what we can do.”

The crowd went crazy for the host Australians, who set a world record 1:42.35 to win. Previous co-world record holders Team USA (1:42.41) and Sweden (1:42.43) followed in an extremely close finish.

“It was really hype,” said Ruck. “I just wanted to get in there and feed off the energy. It was a really fun time and it’s only two laps.”

Defending champion Tessa Cieplucha of Georgetown, Ont., advanced to the final of the women’s 400-m individual medley with a heat swim of 4:33.58, but was disqualified in the final for an illegal back-to-breast turn.

“It sucks but it happens. This meet I really wanted to work on specific skills, so it sucks but it’s something to work on and keep in mind,” said Cieplucha, who had to wait until Day 5 to swim her only event.

“I definitely felt the five days before but this team was super positive and encouraging me every day so I wanted to swim it for them,” said the 24-year-old Olympian. “It’s just a hard race. I probably felt the travel and that just happened today but it’s OK.”

The six-day world short course championships wrap up Sunday. Finals are being streamed live on CBC Sports digital platforms. Live streams can be watched via the free CBC Gem streaming service, at and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices.

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