Record-setting swim earns Masse second silver
TOKYO – Persistence and perseverance paid off for Kylie Masse.
Masse (HPC-Ontario/Lasalle, Ont.) earned her second silver medal of the Tokyo Games by swimming a Canadian record time of two minutes, 5.42 seconds in the 200-metre backstroke Saturday morning (Friday evening in Canada).
“I worked a lot on my 200-m pace and strategy over the last two years,” said Masse, who also took silver in the 100-m backstroke earlier this week. “My 200 has come a long way.
“I didn’t even make the team in 2016 (in the event). It’s something that has taken years to get here. I’m really happy with my progress and proud to get on the podium here.”
Masse led for most of the race but was overtaken in the final few metres by Australia’s Kaylee McKeown who won gold in 2:04.68. Australia’s Emily Seebohm, who was seventh after 100 metres, battled back for third in 2:06.17.
Masse’s time broke the record of 2:05.94 she set in April 2019.
Taylor Ruck (HPC-Ontario/Kelowna, B.C.) was sixth in 2:08.24. It was Ruck’s first individual Olympic final and she credited Masse with keeping her focused.
“I was pretty nervous,” said Ruck, who was part of the 4×100-metre freestyle relay that won silver. “Kylie helped calm me down, kept me centred.
“Being the year everyone had and being able to bring it to this moment, it’s a great end to the Olympics.’
Canada has won a gold, three silver and a bronze in the pool, all by women.
Masse said collecting her second medal of the Games “feels amazing.”
“I have high expectations for myself,” said the 25-year-old who won a bronze at the 201 Rio Games. “I’m really happy to get on the podium a second time in an Olympic Games.”
Brent Hayden (HPC-Vancouver/Mission, B.C.) swam a blistering 21.82 seconds in the semifinals of the 50-metre freestyle to finish tied for ninth. The top eight swimmers advance to the final.
The 37-year-old, who came out of seven years of retirement in 2019 with the dream of competing at the Tokyo Games, was emotional after the race.
“I think everything went right,” said Hayden, who swam the identical time at the Canadian trials in June. “I’m still happy.
“This whole journey, just having the chance to fall back in love with the sport again, is the second greatest decision I ever made. The first greatest decision was asking my wife to marry me. She sacrificed so much for this journey.”
Hayden is the oldest Canadian Olympic swimmer ever. He retired after winning a bronze medal in the 100-m freestyle at the 2012 London Games.
“I really wanted to be in that final really bad,” he said. “That was the best time of this comeback. I can’t ask for more than that.”
Competing in his fourth Olympics, Hayden advanced to the semifinals by placing fourth in his heat and eighth overall in 21.85 seconds.
Josh Liendo (HPC-Ontario/Toronto), the 18-year-old competing in his first Games, finished 18th in 22.03 seconds.
In other events, both the men’s and women’s 4×100-m medley relay teams advanced to the final Sunday morning in Tokyo (Saturday evening in Canada).
The women’s team of Ruck (backstroke), Sydney Pickrem (HPC-Ontario/ Halifax) (breaststroke), 100-m butterfly Olympic champion Maggie Mac Neil (London Aquatic Club/London, Ont.) and Kayla Sanchez (HPC-Ontario/Toronto) had the fastest qualifying time of three minutes, 55.17 seconds.
Sanchez, who swam the anchor leg, said some advice from 200-m freestyle bronze medallist Penny Oleksiak helped her edge the U.S. by .01 seconds.
“I asked her for tips on how she closes a race so well and part of it is just to really dig,” said Sanchez, part of the 4×100-m relay team that won silver. “I really put my head down and tried to replicate what she does.”
The men’s team of Markus Thormeyer (HPC-Vancouver/ Delta, B.C.) (backstroke), Gabe Mastromatteo (Kenora Swimming Sharks/Kenora, Ont.) (breaststroke), Liendo (butterfly) and Yuri Kisil (HPC-Ontario/Calgary) (freestyle) needed some luck to reach the final.
The Canadians swam 3:32.37 to finish ninth. They advanced when Brazil, which tied with the U.S. for seventh, was disqualified.
Full schedule and results: https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/olympic-games/en/results/swimming/olympic-schedule-and-results-date=2021-07-29.htm
Crédit photo: Natation Canada/Ian MacNicol: https://swimmingcanada-my.sharepoint.com/:f:/g/personal/mrodrigue_swimming_ca/EmPFdpFUH95Fq6-3P0PyabUBfJinWuurxttByxyQUJz_FA?e=paW6rZ