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Medley bronze caps successful worlds for Canada

News –

DOHA, Qatar – The women’s 4×100-m medley relay captured bronze for Canada in the final event of the World Aquatics Championships Sunday.

The team of Ingrid Wilm, Sophie Angus, Rebecca Smith and Taylor Ruck combined for a time of 3:56.43 to finish third in the event for the fourth straight world championships. Sydney Pickrem and Katerine Savard, who swam the morning heat to help qualify with the fastest time, also receive medals. Pickrem’s morning breaststroke split of 1:06.14 was Canada’s second-fastest ever (Annamay Pierse, 1:06.10, 2009).

“I think we all really did our best on this last race here and I’m so proud of all these girls,” said Smith.

“It’s so much fun,” added Angus. “These relays are my favourite part of these meets and to do it with all these girls, it was a really good way to finish off the week.”

Canada collected seven medals (one gold, one silver, five bronze) at the eight-day championships held at the Aspire Dome in Doha, Qatar, one more than last year’s total
from Fukuoka, Japan.

“The Doha world championships provided a great racing opportunity for the swimmers. The plan was always to come here, race, compete through the championships and improve day by day. We saw how the team performed at the beginning of the meet and that continued right through the last day with swimmers racing best times to conclude the relays,” said High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson.

Wilm and Pickrem leave Doha with a team-high three medals. With two each, Smith and Ruck now have eight all time, moving into a tie for third among Canadians with Ryan Cochrane, Maggie Mac Neil and Summer McIntosh. Only Penny Oleksiak and Kylie Masse, with nine each, have more. With seven career medals, Pickrem, sits eighth all-time.

“Coming away with seven medals, nine medallists, I think is a fantastic testament to the athletes, but also how well the coaching staff work with them and our support staff. We keep doing what we need to do day by day and that’s an excellent situation to be in,” Atkinson said.

The men’s medley finished just outside the medals in fourth. The team of Blake Tierney, James Dergousoff, Finlay Knox and Javier Acevedo turned in a time of 3:32.89. Tierney led off in 53.65, his second personal best of the day.

All seven of Canada’s relays sit within the top 16 times combined between these championships and Fukuoka 2023, which puts them in position to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“We had a strategy in Fukuoka at the last world championships to race in all our Olympic relays and we also competed in them here. As we finish the world championships here we have all seven of our Olympic relays ranked in positions that will receive quota spots from World Aquatics when confirmed,” Atkinson said.

Ruck, who was part of women’s 4×100 free relay bronze on Day 1, showcased her return to form earlier in the session, finishing fifth in her first ever world 50-m free final. The 23-year-old Kelowna, B.C., native’s time of 24.50 from Lane 8 was her fastest in nearly six years.

Meanwhile, Calgary native Lorne Wigginton finished seventh in the men’s 400 IM with a time of 4:14.98. It’s the first world final for the 18-year-old, who swims at the High Performance Centre – Ontario and was recently named Swimming Canada’s Junior Male Swimmer of the Year.

“There’s definitely a lot of work to be done before we get into Trials and all that,” Wigginton said. “The thing about racing now is it’s a big opportunity to do a lot of work. I know exactly what I need to do now, so now it’s just getting ready for the summer.”

On the women’s side, Tessa Cieplucha also turned in a seventh-place finish in her 400 IM final.

“It kind of stings a bit waiting for the last day and then not really doing as well as you think. I was really happy with the morning and my goal coming into the meet was to make a final, so anything on top of that would be great,” said the 25-year-old Olympian from Georgetown, Ont., who earned Lane 4 with a morning swim of 4:40.80.

Canadian athletes now turn their focus to the Olympic & Paralympic Trials, Presented by Bell, set for May 13-19 at the Olympic Pool in Montreal.

“The next step from here is everybody to go back, evaluate where they’re at and get ready for the Olympic Trials. Then it’s full steam to Paris,” Atkinson said.

More than 2,600 athletes representing 201 countries and the World Aquatics Refugee Team

are in Doha to compete in 75 medal events across six aquatic sports.

Live streaming and extensive coverage will run through Sunday on, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem. See the full streaming and broadcast schedule here.

Fans can also follow along on Instagram and X through @CBCOlympics and @SwimmingCanada for highlights throughout the competition.

Full team Canada roster.

Pool swimming schedule and entries.

Medals (7)
G (1): Finlay Knox 200 IM, 1:56.64 NR
S (1): Sydney Pickrem 200 IM 2:08.56 PB
B (5): W4x100 free relay (Rebecca Smith, Sarah Fournier, Katerine Savard, Taylor Ruck 3:40.42 + Ella Jansen); Ingrid Wilm 100 back, 59.18; Ingrid Wilm 50 back, 27.61; Sydney Pickrem 200 breast 2:22.94; W4x100 medley relay (Ingrid Wilm, Sophie Angus, Rebecca Smith, Taylor Ruck + Sydney Pickrem, Katerine Savard) 3:56.43

Individual medal totals (9 swimmers won medals, 8 women/1 man)
3: Sydney Pickrem (S-2B), Ingrid Wilm (3B)
2: Rebecca Smith (2B), Katerine Savard (2B), Taylor Ruck (2B)
1: Finlay Knox (G), Sarah Fournier (B), Sophie Angus (B), Ella Jansen (B)

Canadian records (2)
GOLD: Finlay Knox 200 IM final, 1:56.64 NR
Finlay Knox 50 fly semi, 23.25 > T-9th NR

Other personal bests (9 total including Cdn records)
SILVER: Sydney Pickrem 200 IM final 2:08.56 PB
Finlay Knox 50 fly prelim, 23.52 PB >15th
James Dergousoff, 100 breast prelim, 1:00.77 PB >23rd
Sophie Angus 100 breast semi, 1:06.66 > 8th PB
Sophie Angus 50 breast prelim, 30.86 > T-9th PB
Blake Tierney 4×100 medley prelim > 5th, 53.98 PB
Blake Tierney 4×100 medley final > 4th, 53.65 PB