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Aquatics

Masse, Oleksiak make a splash at FINA Champions Swim Series

Canadians Kylie Masse and Penny Oleksiak had strong performances on the first day of competition at the FINA Champions Swim Series in Indianapolis on Friday.

Canadians are preparing for world championships in July

Canada's Kylie Masse, pictured at the Pan Pacific swimming championships last summer, swam to a first-place finish in the women's 50-metre backstroke. (Koji Sasahara/The Associated Press)

Canadians Kylie Masse and Penny Oleksiak had strong performances on the first day of competition at the FINA Champions Swim Series in Indianapolis on Friday.

At the third and final stop of the series, Masse swam to a first-place tie with Russia's Anastasiia Fesikova in the 50-metre backstroke. The pair will split the $10,000 prize. 

This isn't your regular swim meet. The world's top swimmers participate in the invitation-only event, where every race features only four swimmers. In other words, every race is a final. The swimmers receive prize money and appearance fees for showing up. 

WATCH | Kylie Masse ties for first in 50m backstroke:

Masse and Russian Anastasiia Fesikova tied for first and will split the $10,000 prize. 1:56

Masse was third in the 200 backstroke, finishing 0.95 seconds behind first-place swimmer Margherita Panziera. Masse rounded out the day's action with a silver finish in her team's mixed relay. The team included swimmers from around the world.

Fellow Canadian Oleksiak finished third in the 100 butterfly as Sweden's Sarah Sjoestroem blew the rest of the competition out of the water – cruising to gold a minute and 13 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Oleksiak was also fourth in the 100 freestyle.

The meet is a tune-up for the world championships, which begin on July 12.

"Most world-class swimmers need a meet to challenge themselves and to simply prime the system for the upcoming major swim meet of the summer," said CBC Sports swimming analyst Byron MacDonald. "Don't need a slew of meets, just one or two strategically placed, usually four-to-six weeks out."

 

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