Road To The Olympic Games


Masse, Oleksiak continue to impress 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.

Canada’s Sydney Pickrem also shines in preparation for world championship

Canada's Kylie Masse, seen in this file photo from the 2018 Team Canada finals, took top honours in the 100-metre backstroke at the FINA Champions Swim Series in Indianapolis on Saturday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada's Kylie Masse and Penny Oleksiak had another strong outing at the FINA Champions Swim Series in Indianapolis on Saturday.

A day after swimming to a first-place tie with Anastasiia Fesikova in the 50-metre backstroke, Masse edged the Russian as well as second place finisher Margherita Panziera of Hungary to claim sole honours in the 100-metre backstroke. 

Masse's time of 59.13 put her 00.32 seconds in front of Panziera (59.45) and well over a second ahead of Fesikova (1:00.68) on Saturday.

When interviewed after the race, Masse said, "I just [try] to put together a good race and kind of just execute what I've been working on in training." She went on to say, "every opportunity I get to race, I try and work on things that will give me a stepping stone to performing well at Worlds."

WATCH | Kylie Masse wins the 100m backstroke

Canada's Kylie Masse finishes 1st with a time of 59.13 seconds. 2:24

Oleksiak was equally dominant on Day 2. Although the Olympic gold medallist is known more for her 100m freestyle, she bounced back from a disappointing fourth place finish in that event on Friday, to top the 200m on Saturday. With a time of 1:57.18 she outpaced Leah Smith of the United Sates (1:57.84) and Sweden's Sarah Sjoestroem (1:57.92) who came in third, to earn top spot.

WATCH | Oleksiak powers to victory in 200m free 

Canada's Penny Oleksiak wins the 200m freestyle with a time of 1:57.18. 3:28

Following the race Oleksiak was asked about her budding prowess in the 200m. "I think I've always kept 200 free in my back pocket and I've been working really hard in training and trying to make it better and to move forward with it is very exciting."

Canada's Sydney Pickrem also had a strong showing, finishing second in the Women's 200m Medley. Pickrem's 2:08.61 put her just behind Katinka Hosszu (2:08.50) of Hungary and ahead of Melanie Margalis (2:10.41) of the U.S.  

WATCH | Sydney Pickrem finishes 2nd in 200m

Canada's Sydney Pickrem places 2nd behind Katinka Hosszu of Hungary. 3:41

The FINA Champions Swim Series is an invitation-only event, involving the world's top swimmers, with every race featuring only four competitors.

This cash-prize event, is considered a tune-up for the world championships, which begin on July 12.

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