Toronto set to host second leg of FINA Swimming World Cup series
TORONTO – More than 450 athletes from 37 countries are gathered in Toronto this week for the second leg of the 2022 FINA Swimming World Cup series.
The short-course competition kicks off Friday and concludes Sunday at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, with preliminary sessions starting at 9:30 a.m. ET and finals at 6 p.m. daily.
Tickets for the event can be purchased through Ticketmaster.
All sessions will be streamed live on CBC Sports digital platforms, with commentary for the heats from former national team swimmers Callum Ng and Sarah Mailhot. Tokyo 2020 Olympic commentator Rob Snoek will join Olympic medallist Brittany MacLean to call the finals. Live streams can be watched via the free CBC Gem streaming service, at cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices.
It marks the first presentation of a FINA World Cup event on Canadian soil since 2001 in Edmonton, with Toronto having hosted once before, in 1988.
The three-stop 2022 series got underway last weekend in Berlin and wraps up in Indianapolis on Nov. 3-5.
The series offers prize money of over $1.1 million US, including $100,000 each to the female and male overall champions. World records are worth an extra $10,000 US.
“I’m so excited to have an international swim meet here in Canada. Already seeing this fancy setup, it feels a little surreal,” said Calgary’s Ingrid Wilm, who placed second in the women’s 50-m backstroke in Berlin and finished third in both the 100 and 200 back. “Seeing all those flags up there, how many countries are going to come here, and knowing how many Canadian fans are going to come and cheer for all of us, not just us Canadians but the international swimmers as well… I’m pretty excited.
“Fans will get to see a lot of international swimmers they’ve never seen in person before. In the backstroke, for me personally, seeing three or four Canadians in the finals each time, just showcasing how we can stand up against the rest of the world.”
American Kieran Smith is also eager to get going in Toronto.
“I’m loving this venue. It’s a top notch venue,” said the Olympic bronze medallist in the men’s 400 freestyle, who won the event last weekend. “Berlin was pretty loaded with a lot of European swimmers who wanted to get some racing done in the middle of the fall. Some people were kind of peaking, others you could tell were pretty tired. I was somewhere right in the middle and I was really happy to go best time in the 400 free on the first day of competition.
“Now that we’re back in North America, some more Americans are joining us here. And obviously Canada has top notch athletes. Should be some great swimming.”
There will be no shortage of big name swimmers this weekend at the TPASC as a collection of world record holders, world champions and Olympic gold medallists begin their preparation for the 2023 Worlds and 2024 Olympic Games.
Top international participants include, to name only a few, 2021 World Cup overall male winner Matthew Sates of South Africa, seven-time Olympic gold medallist and 19-time world champion Katie Ledecky from the United States, as well as world record holders Siobhan Haughey from Hong Kong, China (200m freestyle – short course), Thomas Ceccon from Italy (100 backstroke – long course) and Kyle Chalmers from Australia (100 freestyle – short course).
Sates and Haughey lead the men’s and women’s standings after the first leg of the 2022 FINA World Cup series.
Highlighting the Canadian contingent in Toronto are the likes of four-time Olympic medallist Kylie Masse of LaSalle, Ont., reigning Olympic champion (100 butterfly) and short-course world record holder (50 backstroke) Maggie Mac Neil of London, Ont., as well as two-time Olympian Javier Acevedo of Toronto, two-time 2022 world champion Summer McIntosh of Toronto, reigning short-course world champion Tessa Cieplucha of Georgetown, Ont. (400 individual medley), Tokyo Olympian, world medallist and Commonwealth Games champion Josh Liendo of Markham, Ont., and 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que.
Represented by four swimmers last weekend in Germany, Canada collected ten Top 3 finishes.
Masse, Canada’s most decorated FINA swimmer of all time, competed in all three backstroke finals alongside Wilm, triumphing in the 50 and placing second in the 100 and 200.
Acevedo was third in the men’s 100 medley, 50 back and 100 back, breaking Canadian records in both backstroke finals.
Bailey Andison of Smiths Falls, Ont., touched in third place in the women’s 400 IM.