Canada's Maggie Mac Neil sets world record, wins backstroke gold at short course worlds

Canada's Maggie Mac Neil set a new world record on her way to her second gold medal at the world short course championships in Melbourne, Australia, on Friday.

Fellow Canadians Javier Acevedo, Finlay Knox win silver, bronze in men's 100m medley

Two swimmers, both wearing black swim caps, celebrate together in the pool. The swimmer on the left is smiling as her arm is raised in celebration by the swimmer on the right.
Canada's Kylie Masse, right, raises the arm of teammate Maggie Mac Neil, left, in celebration of Mac Neil's world-record breaking gold-medal performance in the women's 50-metre backstroke final on Friday in Melbourne, Australia. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Canada's Maggie Mac Neil set a new world record on her way to her second gold medal at the world short course championships in Melbourne, Australia, on Friday.

The Canadian blazed to a time of 25.25 seconds in the 50-metre backstroke to claim the top spot on the podium, ahead of American Claire Curzan (25.54), and Australia's Mollie O'Callaghan (25.61).

Fellow Canadian Kylie Masse, of La Salle, Ont., finished just off the podium in fourth with a time of 25.81.

WATCH | Mac Neil swims to gold in record time:

Canada's Mac Neil lowers own world record to claim 50m backstroke gold at short course worlds

4 months ago
Duration 6:07
Maggie Mac Neil of London, Ont., broke her own world record, swimming the 50-metre backstroke in a time of 25.25 seconds to win her second gold medal at the world swimming championships (25) in Melbourne.

Mac Neil, of London, Ont., already had a gold medal in the 50-m butterfly on Wednesday, as well as a bronze medal win as part of the Canadian team in the 4x100m final on Tuesday.

"I'm ecstatic. I knew it would be hard to go a best time but I just really wanted to see the improvements and I'm glad I did it," Mac Neil said. "I've been learning so much from each swim that I've been doing and I think I was able to fix all those little errors tonight."

Masse, the reigning world champion, swam in the lane next to her Canadian teammate and lifted her arm in celebration at the finish.

"I just said, 'Incredible job,' and I told her that she broke the world record because I couldn't tell if she could see or not," Masse said of her Mac Neil, who wears glasses outside of the pool and often squints to see final times on the scoreboard.

"It's always a pleasure to race next to Maggie. She continues to push me and it's incredible to be able to be next to her when she does something amazing like that."

Mac Neil said she appreciates Masse's support.

"It's great to swim with Kylie, she's one of my best friends so it's just amazing," said Mac Neil. "We've gotten really close over the last couple of years. We both kind of had some struggles with COVID and changing environments and stuff. So we've been able to work through that together and I wouldn't be where I am without her."

Canadian men share podium

In the men's 100m medley, a pair of Canadian swimmers captured medals by breaking the national record in the event. Toronto's Javier Acevedo took silver in 51.05 while Finlay Knox, of Okotoks, Alta., swam to bronze in 51.10. Both swimmers touched the wall ahead of Acevedo's previous Canadian record time.

"Finlay and I have gotten really close in the last couple years. This past fall and summer we've gone to concerts together, the international film festival together and just even now sharing the podium is so special. I train with the guy every day and he pushes me and I push him," Acevedo said.

Italian Thomas Ceccon won the race in 50.97.

Canada now owns a total of nine medals at the meet, including two gold, two silver and five bronze.

WATCH | Acevedo, Knox reach podium together:

Canada's Acevedo and Knox win silver and bronze in 100m medley at short course worlds

4 months ago
Duration 5:12
Toronto's Javier Acevedo won silver and set a new Canadian record in the men's 100-metre individual medley, while Finlay Knox of Okotoks, Alta., finished right behind him at the world swimming championships (25) in Melbourne.

In other Canadian results, Sydney Pickrem of Toronto posted a personal best 58.26 in the women's 100 individual medley, finishing fourth, while Mary-Sophie Harvey, of Trois-Rivières, Que., was eighth (59.11). Pickrem was also sixth (2:19.35) in the women's 200m breaststroke final.

The men's 4x200 freestyle relay team of Knox, Acevedo, Toronto's Ruslan Gaziev, and Montreal's Ilya Kharun set a new Canadian record on the way to a seventh-place finish in the final. The four Canadians posted a time of 6:56.02, obliterating the previous record of 7:05.77.

Competition in Melbourne runs through Sunday.

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