McIntosh repeats as 200 fly world champ
FUKUOKA, Japan – Summer McIntosh defended her title in the women’s 200-metre butterfly on Thursday at the World Aquatics Championships.
The 16-year-old phenom from Toronto led the race at every split and clocked a world junior record, Canadian senior record and Americas record 2:04.06.
She becomes only the second Canadian to ever repeat as world champion, and the second with three career gold medals at long course worlds, joining Kylie Masse in accomplishing both feats.
“Going into the final I was really pumped up for it as I got gold last time here at worlds,’’ she said. ‘’That was a really special moment for me, so to repeat it again that meant the world. I’m just really overly happy with the result.”
Elizabeth Dekkers of Australia won the silver in 2:05.46 and Regan Smith of the U.S. the bronze in 2:06.58.
It’s the second medal of the competition for McIntosh, who took bronze in the 200 freestyle on Wednesday. It’s her sixth career medal at the long course world championships.
McIntosh got a hug from her parents over the railing as she did her victory lap with the gold medal.
“It was really nice to see them,’’ said McIntosh. ‘’I hadn’t seen them in a while with being away for so long with staging camp and things like that. To share that moment with them plus my sister cheering me on back home in addition to all my friends and family, really means the world to have their support.”
It is the fourth straight worlds Canada has snared at least one gold.
Canada now has a medal of each colour this week in swimming. On Monday, Margaret Mac Neil of London, Ont., took silver in the women’s 100 butterfly.
In the women’s 50 backstroke final, Kaylee McKeown of Australia won the gold in 27.08, Smith was second in 27.11 and Lauren Cox of Great Britain third in 27.20.
Masse, from LaSalle, Ont., followed in fourth in 27.28. She entered the race as defending world champion and her time Thursday was faster than last year in Budapest, just a tenth off her national record set at last year’s Trials.
“The 50 is always a tough one because it’s so close but that’s the fastest I’ve gone this year so I have to be pleased with that,’’ she said.
Ingrid Wilm of Calgary was sixth in 27.41.
Australia clocked a world record in the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay in 7:37.50 for gold. The Americans followed in 7:41.38 and China was third in 7:44.40.
Canada was fifth in 7:49.98 with Mary-Sophie Harvey of Trois-Rivieres, Que., McIntosh, Emma O’Croinin of Edmonton and Brooklyn Douthwright of Riverview, N.B.
The medallists qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, while the remaining 13 spots will be decided by ranking Fukuoka 2023 times against the times from the Doha 2024 worlds.
McIntosh was well prepared to swim two finals on the same night.
“Obviously it’s tough but I’ve done it before at last worlds and it worked out pretty well,’’ she said. ‘’I just kind of have to trust my training on that back end of the 200 free and recover as much as possible in between those two events.”
Harvey, like McIntosh, rested in the morning before joining the squad for the final.
“It was a good experience,’’ she said. ‘’It’s good practice for next year. I think just getting the nerves and figuring out the best way how to swim it.’’
Douthwright, a national team rookie, said the key was staying focused on keeping Canada in a good qualifying position for Paris.
“That was super exciting,’’ she said. ‘’It was just important for me to focus on having my best race in the first 100. And then the last 100 really just doing it for Canada and for the other girls swimming it, really just putting my best foot forward for that.”
O’Croinin – a 2019 medallist as a heat swimmer – was also soaking up the experience.
‘’It was my first final at worlds, so always a learning experience, kind of learning what this environment is like and how to prepare,’’ she said. ‘’Lots to learn.”
Ella Jansen of Burlington, Ont., and Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., swam lead-off and anchor in the prelims.
Kelsey Wog advances to final
In the women’s 200 breaststroke semifinal, Kelsey Wog of Winnipeg qualified eighth for Friday’s final clocking 2:24.16.
“There’s definitely a few things that I know I can fix,’’ said Wog. ‘’It didn’t go quite as I wanted to in that race, but it’s a season’s best this year. It’s been a tough year so I can’t complain about that.”
Hugh McNeill of Langley, B.C., was 15th overall in the men’s 200 backstroke semi in 1:58.86.
“I think it was good,’’ said the rookie. ‘’I succeeded in executing all the technical things that I’d come into worlds hoping to accomplish. I think I just wasn’t quite as sharp tonight.”
McNeill clocked a personal best 1:57.73 in the preliminaries. His personal best a year ago was over two minutes.
“It was very exciting,’’ he said about his morning swim. ‘’I think I might have gotten a little ahead of myself with it. But it was a very good demonstration of the work that I’ve put in in the season.
“Being able to break through by several seconds is a very big step.’’
Brayden Taivassalo of Newmarket, Ont., was 30th in the men’s 200 breaststroke prelims in 2:13.81.
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
Associate Director, Communications
Directeur associé, communication
t. +1 613-260-1348 x2002 | m. +1 613-866-7946 | email@example.com