Liendo reaches new heights with silver, record in 100-metre fly
FUKUOKA, Japan – Joshua Liendo of Toronto won the silver medal in the men’s 100-metre butterfly with a Canadian record time on Saturday at the World Aquatics Championships.
Liendo, 20, clocked 50.34 seconds to eclipse his previous national mark of 50.36 set at the Bell Canadian Swimming Trials this spring. He improved on his bronze medal performance from the 2022 worlds.
Maxime Grousset of France edged the Canadian for gold in 50.14 and Dare Rose of the U.S. grabbed the bronze in 50.46. Liendo had also qualified for the 50 freestyle final, but scratched to focus on the 100 fly.
“It was good,’’ said Liendo. ‘’I wanted to focus on that event. I made a decision to go all in on the 100 fly and it paid off. I just trusted my race, trusted my strengths and also tried to work on stuff I thought were my weaknesses and it paid off.’’
Liendo, who recently completed his first year at the University of Florida, says he’s still learning at the international level.
“There’s definitely some stuff to improve on, but then again, it’s a new program this year, I keep reminding myself of that,’’ he said. “There were things to get used to and I found I bounced back from the 100 free the first day with it not being where I wanted it to be.
‘’Today was just a great learning opportunity for me.”
Canada now has four medals this week in swimming led by Summer McIntosh of Etobicoke, Ont., with gold in the women’s 200 butterfly and bronze in the 200 freestyle as well as silver for Margaret Mac Neil of London, Ont., in the women’s 100 butterfly.
The Australians broke their world record in the mixed 4×100 freestyle relay for gold at 3:18.83. The Americans were second in 3:20.82 and Great Britain third in 3:21.68.
Canada surged from sixth after the first leg to fourth in 3:23.82 with Liendo, Ruslan Gaziev of Toronto, Mac Neil and Mary-Sophie Harvey of Trois-Rivieres, Que.
“It was my first time anchoring a relay, first time doing a mixed relay in the final,’’ said Harvey. ‘’If you had told me I was doing that a year ago, I would not have believed you, but a lot to learn from. I really like this race. I just started to do it and it’s exciting for next year.”
Mac Neil was satisfied with the result.
“Relays are always fun for me and when I finish off (the competition) with the relays I find a little bit more energy,’’ she said. ‘’This felt like a really long meet so I’m happy with that. Fourth in the world is pretty good.”
Liendo and Mac Neil replaced Javier Acevedo of Toronto and Taylor Ruck of Kelowna, B.C., who helped
qualify Canada for the final in the morning prelims ranking fifth.
In the women’s 200 backstroke, Kaylee McKeown of Australia was the winner in 2:03.85, Regan Smith of the U.S. second in 2:04.94 and Xuwei Peng of China third in 2:06.74.
Kylie Masse of LaSalle, Ont., in all three backstroke finals this week, was fifth in 2:07.52.
“The last 50 was definitely tough but I put it all out there and that’s all that I can ask for at the end of the day,’’ said Masse, who has reached the final in 10 of 11 races in backstroke events over the last four worlds. ‘’It’s an incredible field and I knew that most likely the two girls would be out front. I just had to battle my way.”
Masse, fourth in the 50 and 100 back this week, is one of only two swimmers to reach all three women’s backstroke finals at two consecutive worlds. The other is Australian Emily Seebohm in 2015 and 2017.
“Obviously I’m far off my best times (this week) but keeping things in perspective I think it’s a nice reminder,’’ added Masse. ‘’I feel very honoured to be in the same category as Seebohm. She’s someone that I looked up to for a number of years and was able to race and learn from. To be on par with her is something that I’m proud of.’’
Sophie Angus clocks personal best in preliminaries
In the preliminaries, Javier Acevedo of Toronto tied for 19th in the men’s 50 backstroke in 25.18.
Sophie Angus of Toronto ranked 22nd in the women’s 50 breaststroke in a personal best 31.01.
“I’m actually really happy with that,’’ said Angus, who also clocked a PB in the 100 breast earlier this week. ‘’My 50 isn’t always as sharp in the morning, so to go a PB in the morning I’m really happy with it. There’s definitely room for improvement. I definitely feel more comfortable and relaxed going up there against the best swimmers in the world.”
Hanna Henderson of Mississauga, Ont., had to wait until Day 7 to make her senior national team debut in the 50 freestyle. She finished 36th with a prelim time of 25.71.
“It was an amazing experience,’’ she said. ‘’Of course I wish I went a little faster, my goal is always to get a second swim. But all things considered I’m really proud to be here, proud to wear the flag. It’s made me so motivated just to get back in and train for next year.’’
Competition ends on Sunday.
Viewers can catch the action live via the free CBC Gem steaming service, cbcsports.ca, and the CBC Sports App for iOS and Android devices, and watch broadcast coverage on CBC TV as part of CBC Sports weekend programming throughout the competition.
CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux is in Japan poolside keeping audiences up-to-date on the latest news and posting social videos daily.
Events are being live streamed across CBC Sports digital platforms, with a live swim show hosted by Anastasia Bucsis streaming daily on CBC Gem beginning Sunday for all final events. Finals start at 7 a.m. ET each day.
Schedule and results: Competition Results | AQUA Official