Canadian swimmers look to continue World Cup success this weekend in Toronto
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The Canadian swim team has picked up where it left off after a strong 12-month stretch marked by success at the Summer Olympics, world championships and Commonwealth Games.
Canada kicked off the FINA World Cup circuit last weekend in Berlin with 10 podium appearances. The national team will be looking to build on that performance this weekend at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.
"We continue to push each other and ultimately just continue to challenge each other to be better each day," said four-time Olympic medallist Kylie Masse. "When you're doing that and everyone is pushing the boundaries constantly, it's amazing."
The 26-year-old has reached the podium at every major meet she has entered dating back to the 2016 Rio Olympics. She's feeling recharged after taking a full month off over the summer.
"I find it really motivating to be able to reflect upon that there are a lot of things for me to work on," she said. "So I'm excited [for the] challenge over these next couple meets and this fall."
Toronto's Summer McIntosh is another headliner among a Canadian contingent that includes Maggie Mac Neil of London, Ont., Toronto's Javier Acevedo, Tessa Cieplucha of Georgetown, Ont., and Markham, Ont., native Josh Liendo.
A total of 21 Canadian team members are entered to race this week. Penny Oleksiak of Toronto, who is still recovering from knee surgery, will not compete.
McIntosh enjoyed a breakout performance at the venue last summer at the Olympic Trials. She won gold in the 200- and 800-metre freestyle to qualify for the Games as a 14-year-old.
In Tokyo, McIntosh just missed the podium in the 400 freestyle and 4x200 relay. She won gold in the 200 butterfly and 200 IM at the world championships last August in Budapest.
"She has a maturity about her and she knows what she wants," said Suzanne Paulins, Swimming Canada's operations and sport development director. "She just seems to get after it."
McIntosh and American Katie Ledecky will be podium favourites in a strong 400 freestyle field that also includes American Leah Smith.
Australia's Kyle Chalmers, American Hali Flickinger and defending men's World Cup series winner Matthew Sates of South Africa are also slated to race this weekend.
Canada won 20 swimming medals at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, a few weeks after an 11-medal haul at the worlds.
Canada won six swimming medals at last year's Tokyo Games.
"You guys are definitely doing it right," Chalmers said of the national program. "And it's exciting to have someone like Summer coming through who's a once in a generation-type athlete and is going to have an amazing career."
Heats are scheduled to begin Friday morning and the women's 50 free will kick off the finals in the evening.
About 1,000 swimmers from 60 countries will vie for $224,000 US in prize money at the event, which will continue through Sunday.
Indianapolis will host the next World Cup stop from Nov. 3-5.
FINA World Cup live streaming schedule
- Friday, Oct. 28: Morning Session (9:28 a.m. ET), Evening Session (5:53 p.m. ET)
- Saturday, Oct. 29: Morning Session (9:28 a.m. ET), Evening Session (5:53 p.m. ET)
- Sunday, Oct. 30: Morning Session (9:28 a.m. ET), Evening Session (5:53 p.m. ET)