Masse's bid for 3rd straight world 100m backstroke title spoiled by Regan Smith
Canadian touches wall in 58.40 seconds for silver medal in Budapest, Hungary
These days, Kylie Masse is pleased to be in the mix for a medal in the pool, given the challenges of navigating a global pandemic.
The native of LaSalle, Ont., touched the wall second in 58.40 seconds in an unsuccessful bid for a third straight world title in the women's 100-metre backstroke on Monday at the FINA aquatics championships in Budapest, Hungary.
"I'm really happy to stand on the podium," Masse told Swimming Canada. "I think after the crazy last couple of years [dealing with COVID-19] I'm proud to be able to continue to fight for the podium with these girls. This is something I'm really proud of."
Masse has won a backstroke medal at 10 consecutive major international competitions dating to 2015, the longest run by a Canadian woman. She is also tied with teammate and seven-time Olympic medallist Penny Oleksiak for most podium finishes at the long-course event with six.
WATCH | Masse captures backstroke silver medal at aquatics worlds:
Masse, 26, had a strong start to Monday's race, posting the fastest reaction time of 0.53 to Regan Smith's 0.55.
The American swimmer led Masse by 6-100ths of a second through 50 metres and held on for the victory in 58.22.
"[It wasn't] necessarily the time I feel I'm capable of, and I was a bit frustrated I had a poor touch," said Masse, who trains at Swimming Canada's High Performance Centre in Toronto. "There are so many amazing backstrokers here and in the last couple of years.
"It's been a great challenge and I'm continually motivated by them to push myself."
WATCH | Kylie Masse has never missed a podium in the 100-metre backstroke:
Smith, who posted the fastest qualifying time for the final in 57.65, was a bronze medallist at the Olympics last summer in Tokyo, where Masse collected silver in the 100 and 200 backstroke and bronze in women's 100 medley relay.
Claire Curzan, Smith's teammate, was third on Monday in 58.67.
Masse, the reigning Olympic silver medallist, clocked the second-fastest time in Sunday's preliminaries and semifinals, winning her heat in 58.89 in the morning and 58.57 in the evening.
WATCH | Masse has had 'killer instinct' in pool since childhood:
Ruck advances to women's 200 free final
In other action Monday, Oleksiak was disqualified in the women's 200 freestyle semifinals for starting too quick off the blocks.
"I've never false-started in my life. Hopefully it never happens again," said Oleksiak, who pulled out of next month's Commonwealth Games last week to prepare for the 2023 season leading to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Taylor Ruck of Kelowna, B.C., qualified sixth of 15 athletes in 1:56.80 for Tuesday's final at 12:17 p.m. ET, nearly one second faster than her 1:57.60 performance from Canadian trials in April.
"I felt pretty good," she told Swimming Canada. "I just wanted to be faster than trials. It's the fastest I've been in a while so I just keep steadily building and getting faster."
WATCH | Ruck qualifies for women's 200m freestyle final:
On Saturday, Oleksiak and Ruck teamed with Maggie Mac Neil and Kayla Sanchez to win 100 relay silver on the opening day of competition.
They swam to a time of 3:31.15, 1.2 seconds behind Australia, and ahead of the Americans who were 1.63 seconds behind.
WATCH | Oleksiak drives Canadian women to silver in 100-metre relay:
Other Canadian results:
- Patrick Hussey, Beaconsfield, Que. — 24th in men's 200 butterfly preliminaries (personal best 2:00.24) in his national team debut.
- James Dergousoff, Christina Lake, B.C. — He was disqualified in the 50 breaststroke preliminaries.
Coverage continues through July 3, with daily finals streamed live at CBC Sports.ca, CBC Sports App and CBC Gem.
Ceccon sets world mark in men's 100 backstroke
Italy's Thomas Ceccon has set a world record in the men's 100 backstroke.
He clocked 51.60 seconds on Monday in Budapest to shave 0.15 seconds off the previous best record by American Ryan Murphy from the 2016 Olympics.
Ceccon is the second Italian man to set a world record in long course swimming after Giorgio Lambert, who held the record in the men's 200 freestyle from 1989-99.
At 21, Ceccon is also the youngest gold medallist in the men's 100 backstroke at a worlds since the then-19-year-old Aaron Piersol of the United States won in 2003.
WATCH | Canada's Josh Liendo 'glad' to be role model for Black swimmers:
Ledecky dominates women's 1,500
American Katie Ledecky dominated the women's 1,500 freestyle event to claim her second gold medal at these worlds.
Ledecky, who won the women's 400 event on the opening day, cruised to the gold medal with a time of 15 minutes 30.15 seconds.
The 25-year-old finished more than 14 seconds ahead of compatriot Katie Grimes who took the silver while Australia's Lani Pallister earned bronze, 8.81 off Ledecky's pace.
"I love this pool, I knew I put in the work to have a good swim and got into a rhythm," Ledecky said.
"I've got the relay, that's next on the agenda and then I will tackle the 800m. We'll see [if I can get a record]."
Said Pallister: "I don't think that anyone will be topping Katie for a little while, but I definitely think it's a goal for everyone moving forward. She's definitely set the standard of distance swimming in the world."
Pallister's bronze was her country's first medal in this race. The 1,500 freestyle was the only women's event at a worlds in which an Australian swimmer had not reached the podium.
Canada's water polo squad ties Italy
The Canadian women's water polo team tied Italy 7-7 to open its world championship Monday. Emma Wright of Lindsay, Ont., and Hayley McKelvey of North Delta, B.C., paced Canada with two goals apiece.
Calgary's Kelly McKee, Toronto's Verica Bakoc and Winnipeg's Shae La Roche also scored. Goalkeeper Jessica Gaudreault was named player of the game.
Canada's men get started Tuesday against Spain and the women take on Columbia on Wednesday.
Elsewhere on Monday:
- Romanian teenager David Popovici smashed the world junior record as he powered to victory to take gold in the men's 200 free. The 17-year-old became the first male Romanian swimmer to win gold at the world championships as he finished with a time of 1:43.21.
With files from The Associated Press, The Canadian Press & Reuters