World swim champion Kylie Masse has strong start to Olympic season

Kylie Masse of LaSalle, Ont., launched her Olympic season with a win in the 100-metre backstroke on Sunday at the opening event on the Pro Swim Series circuit in Greensboro, N.C.

Clocks 59.88 seconds to win women's 100-metre backstroke in North Carolina

Kylie Masse won the women's 100-metre backstroke in 59.88 seconds on Sunday at the opening event on the Pro Swim Series circuit in Greensboro, N.C. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images/File)

Canadian world champions Kylie Masse and Maggie MacNeil each launched their Olympic season with wins Saturday at the opening event on the Pro Swim Series circuit.

Masse clocked 59.88 seconds to win the women's 100-metre backstroke while MacNeil took the 100 butterfly title in 57.64.

Masse, who tied for a bronze medal in the 100-metre backstroke at the 2016 Olympics, finished her race ahead of Americans Isabelle Stadden and Ali Deloof. Kennedy Goss of Toronto was eighth.

"Coming in here, I didn't really know what to expect of myself," said Masse, the two-time defending world champion from LaSalle, Ont. "I just came off a training camp in Florida for the past week and didn't really know where I was going to be at, but it's great to get long-course racing in, especially early on in the fall."

WATCH | Kylie Masse claims 1st at ISU event earlier this season:   

Kylie Masse 1st Canadian to win International Swimming League event

3 years ago
Duration 2:39
Kylie Masse of Lasalle, Ont., became the first Canadian to win an event at the International Swimming League, when she won the women’s 200-metre backstroke with a personal best time of 2:01.89.

In the butterfly, MacNeil was fourth at the turn but roared to the finish for the win in the fastest time in the world so far this season. American Torri Huske was second in 58.32 and Kendyl Stewart, also of the U.S., was third in 58.86.

"I'm now more motivated than ever," said MacNeil, from London, Ont. "I just need to keep this going throughout the season."

MacNeil, who won a gold medal over Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom in the 100 butterfly at the world championships this past summer in South Korea, also had a fourth-place finish Saturday in the 50 freestyle.

On the men's side, Canada's Josiah Binnema was fourth in the 100 fly in 53.61 and Eli Wall of Toronto finished fourth in the 200 breaststroke in 2:16.23.


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