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Canada's Kylie Masse motivated for world backstroke final

Kylie Masse of Canada competes in her Women 100m Backstroke semifinal at the 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, June 19, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Petr David Josek

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Canadian swimmer Kylie Masse will chase a third straight world title in the women's 100-metre backstroke Monday.

The 26-year-old from LaSalle, Ont., posted the second-fastest time in both the preliminaries and semifinals Sunday in Budapest.

Regan Smith of the U.S. was the quickest qualifier in 57.65 seconds. 

Masse, a double backstroke silver medallist in last summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo, was on world-record pace in her semifinal heat at the halfway turn and finished in 58.57.

"’I’m happy to be getting through but I wasn’t expecting to go out that fast,’’ Masse said. ‘’It wasn’t necessarily what I was planning to do in that race.

‘’I’ll look at what I can improve upon. It will be stacked field as usual in the final. I look forward to the challenge.’’

Masse won gold in the 100-metre backstroke in both the 2017 and 2019 world championships.

Montreal's Marie-Sophie Harvey placed eighth in the women's 200-metre individual medley.

‘’I can’t really be mad because it was my first final at the worlds,’’ said the 22-year-old. 

"It was a step in the right direction but not the time and placing I was aiming for."

Canada opened the biannual world championship with a pair of silver medals Saturday.

Toronto teenagers Summer McIntosh was second to American veteran Katie Ledecky in the 400-metre freestyle.

Canada's 4 x 100 freestyle relay team, anchored by Toronto's Penny Oleksiak, also took silver.

The world championship runs to July 3 with open-water races following pool competition.

Canada totalled eight medals in the pool (two gold, six bronze) plus an open-water bronze in the last world championship held in 2019 in Gwangju, South Korea.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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