World record-breaking swimmer Masse adds bronze in mixed relay
Penny Oleksiak, Richard Funk, Yuri Kisil all part of Canadian medal-earning team
Canada's Kylie Masse added to her medal haul at the world aquatics championships.
One day after making history, Masse, along with Edmonton's Richard Funk, Toronto's Penny Oleksiak and Calgary's Yuri Kisil combined to finish in a tie for third place with China on Wednesday in the mixed 4x100-metre medley relay in Budapest.
"That mixed relay is something I've never done before and isn't offered at a lot of meets," Masse said. "To be able to do it here at world championships was so much fun. To compete for other people as well makes it even better and is almost more motivating. It was a really fun experience."
Canada stopped the clock in three minutes 41.25 seconds, while the Americans, who finished first, lowered their world-record time to 3:38.56 at Duna Arena. Australia was second in 3:41.21.
"Canada felt it had a shot at a medal after crunching numbers of the other countries' best swims," said CBC Sports swimming analyst Byron MacDonald.
Masse, who set a world mark in the 100 backstroke on Tuesday, swam first in the mixed medley relay and stopped the clock in 58.22, one-tenth of a second slower than her 58.10 record time.
"It takes courage to put the female swimmer first as it's a test psychologically and physically, but Kylie is the best in the world [in the 100m backstroke] so it made sense to lead with her," said MacDonald, Masse's coach at the University of Toronto. "She set up the team for a run at the medals, and full marks to the three other swimmers who did their job and didn't panic."
MacDonald said Funk, the second swimmer, found himself in unfamiliar territory of being significantly behind the competition.
"The physical challenge," MacDonald added, "is there are way more waves when you are that far behind. As [Funk] approaches the finish [of his 100 breaststroke] the other teams' next relay swimmers are diving in the water creating a huge splash, thus more resistance for the team that is trailing."
Canada sat seventh after Funk's breaststroke (59.14) and Oleksiak's butterfly (56.18). Kisil then charged past Great Britain, Russia and Italy in the freestyle to vault Canada into the third-place tie.
Kisil finished 10th in the 100-metre freestyle semifinals with a time of 48.50.
In the morning heat, Funk teamed with Toronto's Javier Acevedo, Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., and Winnipeg's Chantal Van Landeghem, who also receive medals for advancing Canada to the final by qualifying third. That foursome held the Canadian record at 3:44.46 for a few hours before the final.
On Tuesday, Masse became the first female Canadian swimmer to win a world title, her time snapping the longest-standing record in women's swimming of 58.12, held since 2009.
Masse also became the first Canadian to win a world championship since Brent Hayden claimed gold in the men's 100 free 10 years ago.
Americans Matt Grevers, Lilly King, Caeleb Dressel and Simone Manuel easily eclipsed the mark of 3:40.28 put up by an entirely different U.S. foursome — Ryan Murphy, Kevin Cordes, Kelsi Worrell and Mallory Comerford — in the morning preliminaries.
The mixed medley relay was added to the world championships two years ago in Kazan, Russia, where Britain set the previous record of 3:41.71. It will be part of the Olympic program for the first time at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
In all, seven world records have been broken at this year's worlds in Budapest.
In the 100 free semifinals, Kisil finished 10th in 48.50.
Masse misses mark in backstroke
Masse of LaSalle, Ont., followed up her world record performance by placing 10th and lowering her Canadian mark in the 50-metre backstroke to 27.64 seconds, just 0.04 seconds short of earning a spot in Thursday's final.
"She can take away that she is swimming with enough speed to do her best time, even though we did not make that the main focus this summer," said MacDonald of the 21-year-old Masse.
Masse's previous mark of 27.67 was set June 24, 2016 in Rome.
"The 50 was never a priority," MacDonald said. "We actually talked over the summer about not swimming it. We did no work in the 50. All Kylie's work was geared to the 100 and 200 backstroke.
"Kylie is still very good in the 50 but she needs some extra strength and power to be able to challenge for medals. She does not yet have the speed to take down the [elite]."
MacDonald noted Masse got to bed late Tuesday night following doping test protocol, media interviews and text messaging with her friends about her record-setting day.
With files from The Canadian Press & Associated Press