Canadian Olympic Trials: Kylie Masse Makes Statement with 57.70 100 Back

Kylie Masse-Olympic Swimming Trials-f-19june2021Photo Scott Grant
Kylie Masse; Photo Courtesy: Scott Grant/Swimming Canada

Canadian Olympic Trials: Kylie Masse Makes Statement with 57.70 100 Back

Kylie Masse watched what transpired on the global backstroking scene in recent weeks. She’d be lying if she said otherwise. But when she got in the water Saturday night at Canadian Olympic Trials, it was all about her race and her goals.

Masse hit them, with a long-awaited breaking of the 58-second mark to win the event in 57.70 seconds. She joins select company in the sub-58 category. Australian Kaylee McKeown re-set the world record last week at 57.45 seconds. American Regan Smith, who’d held that mark at 57.57, went 58.35 to win U.S. Olympic Trials.

“I think it’s amazing seeing all the fast times around the world,” Kylie Masse said. “I’ve tried to stay in the present moment about what’s going on in our own country and I’ve had to accept that this whole year and a half, you can only control competitions and training in our own country. I’ve just been focusing on myself and the 58 barrier, I’ve been champing at the bit to break for a few years now, and it feels amazing to have done that.”

Masse downs her national record from 2017, which had held at 58.10. Her margin of victory Saturday was nearly two seconds over the field, going out nearly a second faster than anyone else in 28.07 and coming back in the only sub-30 split (29.63).

Taylor Ruck-Olympic Swimming Trials-19june2021Photo Scott Grant

Taylor Ruck; Photo Courtesy: Scott Grant/Swimming Canada

Masse said that the time wasn’t meant to be a message sent to her fellow elite backstrokers. With all the challenges in Canada and a twice-delayed Trials uncharacteristically late in the schedule, it’s more a statement to herself to alleviate doubt. It certainly reaffirms that the two-time reigning World Champ in the event is a prime contender in Tokyo.

“I just want to be the fastest I can possibly be, and I’ve been trying to break that 58 barrier,” Kylie Masse said. “I was really happy to do that here tonight.”

Ever the Canadian leader, Masse shared a hug with Taylor Ruck, who punched her ticket to Tokyo with a time of 59.60. She’d already had an Olympic A cut, but she fended off the advance by Ingrid Wilm, who earned an A cut in the morning at 59.88 and was third in finals at 1:00.19.

Ruck had been pre-selected for the Games in the 100 free.

“I’m so happy for Tay,” Masse said. “We’ve had the opportunity to train together here for the last year and a half when I joined the (Toronto High Performance) Centre here when pools reopened again. I have so much respect for her and she’s been an amazing training partner who’s pushed me in sets for the last year and a half, and I couldn’t be more happy for her to have made the 100 back and for us to be on this journey together to Tokyo.”

Women’s 100 backstroke

Event 3  Women 100 LC Meter Backstroke
==================================================================
     CANADIAN: N   58.10  2017-07-25Kylie Masse, WEST
    OLYMPIC A: A 1:00.25
    Name                 Year Team              Prelims     Finals        
==================================================================
                        === A - Final ===                         
 
  1 Masse, Kylie           96 TSC                 58.13      57.70N 
    r:+0.57  28.07        57.70 (29.63)
  2 Ruck, Taylor           00 SCAR              1:00.49      59.60A 
    r:+0.63  29.01        59.60 (30.59)
  3 Wilm, Ingrid           98 CASC                59.88    1:00.19A 
    r:+0.67  29.76      1:00.19 (30.43)
  4 Harvey, Mary-Sophie    99 CAMO              1:00.39    1:00.67  
    r:+0.62  29.54      1:00.67 (31.13)
  5 Hanus, Danielle        98 ISC               1:00.79    1:01.39  
    r:+0.62  29.97      1:01.39 (31.42)
  6 Rathwell, Regan        04 GO                1:01.78    1:01.55  
    r:+0.63  29.74      1:01.55 (31.81)
  7 Janvier, Aela          99 PCSC              1:02.10    1:01.94  
    r:+0.60  30.38      1:01.94 (31.56)
  8 Varga, Ella            04 UCSC              1:02.85    1:02.45  
    r:+0.61  30.43      1:02.45 (32.02)
  9 Hannah, Jade           02 HTAC              1:02.53    1:02.71  
    r:+0.62  29.69      1:02.71 (33.02)
 10 Kary, Raili            02 TSC               1:02.84    1:03.43  
    r:+0.62  30.69      1:03.43 (32.74)

Men’s 100 backstroke

Cole Pratt delivered an outstanding evening swim to make sure two Canadians will head to Tokyo in the event, getting under the A cut to finish second din 53.54. He gave Markus Thormeyer a run, though the veteran Olympian still got his hand to the wall first in 53.40.

“I think it’s still sinking in,” Pratt said. “It hasn’t really hit me yet.”

Pratt, a Calgary native, joins the youth movement on display at Trials. He said he got a boost Saturday morning seeing fellow 18-year-old Joshua Liendo set a Canadian mark in the 100 butterfly, securing his Tokyo spot. He and the other younger members of the team showed that they’re no longer the kids on the team, but rather leaders in waiting.

“Big time,” Pratt said of Liendo’s swim. “Watching my friends go fast just pumps me up even more. Josh is a brother to me, and seeing my friends and family doing the best they can gets me even more excited to get in the water and race.”

Thormeyer already has his ticket to Tokyo punched in the 200 back via pre-selection. He’s trying to add at least two more events in the 100 back and 100 free.

“The race tonight, I think personally I didn’t go as fast as I would’ve wanted, but I guess I’m saving that for Tokyo,” Thormeyer said. “I kind of just went out, this morning wasn’t that great, so tonight, I wanted to make sure I’m feeling the water right on the first 50 and I think I started to pay for it a bit at the end. I kind of faded a bit and I saw Cole coming up on me and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness this little kid, I don’t want to lose.’ So it was a good fight. I’m glad he was there to push me because I feel like I wouldn’t have gone as fast if he wasn’t there.”

Event 4  Men 100 LC Meter Backstroke
==================================================================
     CANADIAN: N 53.35  2019-04-03Markus Thormeyer, UBCTS
    OLYMPIC A: A 53.85
    Name                 Year Team              Prelims     Finals        
==================================================================
                        === A - Final ===                         
 
  1 Thormeyer, Markus      97 UBCT                54.18      53.40A 
    r:+0.67  25.68        53.40 (27.72)
  2 Pratt, Cole            02 CASC                54.41      53.54A 
    r:+0.59  26.26        53.54 (27.28)
  3 Acevedo, Javier        98 AAC                 55.04      54.49  
    r:+0.56  26.42        54.49 (28.07)
  4 Tierney, Blake         02 UBCT                55.24      54.92  
    r:+0.57  26.56        54.92 (28.36)
  5 De Pol, Tayden         02 UBCT                55.23      55.19  
    r:+0.72  26.67        55.19 (28.52)
  6 Marois, William        98 CAMO                55.48      55.84  
    r:+0.58  27.11        55.84 (28.73)
  7 Hill, Robert           96 UCSC                55.92      56.22  
    r:+0.58  27.30        56.22 (28.92)
  8 Zeng, Tim              97 UL                  55.96      56.32  
    r:+0.58  26.96        56.32 (29.36)
  9 McNeill, Hugh          03 LOSC                56.34      56.37  
    r:+0.68  27.55        56.37 (28.82)
 10 Stokes, Richie         00 UCSC                56.34      56.53  
    r:+0.58  27.61        56.53 (28.92)

Women’s 400 freestyle

Neither distance event on Night 1 featured an Olympic A cut. That’s not a problem on the women’s side, given the 4:05.13 that Summer McIntosh laid down last month, which will earn a spot at the Olympics.

The win in Trials, which was done as timed finals, went to Alyson Ackman. The 28-year-old trimmed time off her seed, winning in 4:10.92, though that’s shy of the A cut of 4:07.90. Ackman retired in 2016 but has been reignited by coaching in the United States.

Second was Emily Overholt in 4:11.91. She owns an A cut of 4:06.27 that can be considered for selection. Emma O’Croinin was third in 4:12.10; she was unable to improve a seed time that is within .21 seconds of the A cut.

Event 5  Women 400 LC Meter Freestyle
==================================================================
     CANADIAN: N 4:03.43  2016-08-07Brittany MacLean, ESWIM
    OLYMPIC A: A 4:07.90
    Name                 Year Team                 Seed     Finals        
==================================================================
  1 Ackman, Alyson         93 PCSC              4:11.08    4:10.92  
    r:+0.66  28.65        59.66 (31.01)
        1:30.85 (31.19)     2:02.74 (31.89)
        2:34.45 (31.71)     3:06.59 (32.14)
        3:38.77 (32.18)     4:10.92 (32.15)
  2 Overholt, Emily        97 UBCT              4:06.27    4:11.91  
    r:+0.76  28.92      1:00.07 (31.15)
        1:31.48 (31.41)     2:03.19 (31.71)
        2:35.27 (32.08)     3:07.36 (32.09)
        3:39.57 (32.21)     4:11.91 (32.34)
  3 O'Croinin, Emma        03 EKSC              4:08.11    4:12.10  
    r:+0.76  28.85      1:00.32 (31.47)
        1:32.08 (31.76)     2:03.60 (31.52)
        2:35.02 (31.42)     3:06.92 (31.90)
        3:39.49 (32.57)     4:12.10 (32.61)
  4 Bellio, Katrina        04 ESWIM             4:13.43    4:12.15  
    r:+0.71  29.00      1:00.16 (31.16)
        1:31.60 (31.44)     2:03.71 (32.11)
        2:35.78 (32.07)     3:08.33 (32.55)
        3:40.54 (32.21)     4:12.15 (31.61)
  5 Smallegange, Kenna     03 BAD               4:16.59    4:17.71  
    r:+0.83  29.08      1:00.42 (31.34)
        1:32.39 (31.97)     2:05.01 (32.62)
        2:37.76 (32.75)     3:10.82 (33.06)
        3:44.40 (33.58)     4:17.71 (33.31)
  6 Jansen, Ella           05 ESWIM             4:18.01    4:19.69  
    r:+0.78  29.23      1:00.83 (31.60)
        1:32.95 (32.12)     2:05.30 (32.35)
        2:37.85 (32.55)     3:11.34 (33.49)
        3:45.31 (33.97)     4:19.69 (34.38)
  7 McCloy, Allison        99 UCSC              4:21.28    4:20.28  
    r:+0.79  30.13      1:02.24 (32.11)
        1:34.89 (32.65)     2:07.90 (33.01)
        2:40.98 (33.08)     3:14.24 (33.26)
        3:47.67 (33.43)     4:20.28 (32.61)
  8 Willar, Megan          04 PCSC              4:25.40    4:20.78  
    r:+0.74  29.84      1:02.39 (32.55)
        1:35.95 (33.56)     2:09.56 (33.61)
        2:42.76 (33.20)     3:15.98 (33.22)
        3:48.44 (32.46)     4:20.78 (32.34)

It’s a different story on the men’s side, where there are no A cuts to be had. The race was won by Peter Brothers in 3:39.35, a cut of nearly four seconds off his seed time. Second is Jeremy Bagshaw, who improved his seed slightly to 3:50.10. Both remain well shy of the Olympic A cut of 3:46.78.

Men’s 400 freestyle

 Event 6  Men 400 LC Meter Freestyle
==================================================================
     CANADIAN: N 3:43.46  2014-07-24Ryan Cochrane, ISC
    OLYMPIC A: A 3:46.78
    Name                 Year Team                 Seed     Finals        
==================================================================
  1 Brothers, Peter        96 UCSC              3:53.20    3:49.35  
    r:+0.71  26.67        55.05 (28.38)
        1:23.48 (28.43)     1:52.53 (29.05)
        2:21.34 (28.81)     2:50.45 (29.11)
        3:19.68 (29.23)     3:49.35 (29.67)
  2 Bagshaw, Jeremy        92 ISC               3:50.96    3:50.10  
    r:+0.74  26.62        54.69 (28.07)
        1:23.19 (28.50)     1:52.11 (28.92)
        2:21.30 (29.19)     2:51.00 (29.70)
        3:20.80 (29.80)     3:50.10 (29.30)
  3 Axon, Alexander        03 MAC               3:54.23    3:53.66  
    r:+0.70  26.76        55.43 (28.67)
        1:24.28 (28.85)     1:54.00 (29.72)
        2:24.17 (30.17)     2:54.28 (30.11)
        3:24.58 (30.30)     3:53.66 (29.08)
  4 Brown, Eric            02 PCSC              4:00.82    3:53.98  
    r:+0.73  27.14        56.18 (29.04)
        1:25.39 (29.21)     1:54.85 (29.46)
        2:24.43 (29.58)     2:54.25 (29.82)
        3:24.27 (30.02)     3:53.98 (29.71)
  5 Pratt, Alexander       00 UBCT              3:56.81    3:55.33  
    r:+0.83  27.21        57.13 (29.92)
        1:26.92 (29.79)     1:57.27 (30.35)
        2:27.51 (30.24)     2:57.97 (30.46)
        3:27.60 (29.63)     3:55.33 (27.73)
  6 Cote, Tristan          95 UCSC              3:54.76    3:55.35  
    r:+0.73  27.08        56.23 (29.15)
        1:25.84 (29.61)     1:55.51 (29.67)
        2:25.37 (29.86)     2:55.25 (29.88)
        3:25.25 (30.00)     3:55.35 (30.10)
  7 Li, Stanford           02 PCSC              3:56.69    3:55.47  
    r:+0.64  27.02        55.78 (28.76)
        1:25.30 (29.52)     1:55.06 (29.76)
        2:25.17 (30.11)     2:55.38 (30.21)
        3:25.72 (30.34)     3:55.47 (29.75)
  8 Paulins, Sebastian     98 BRANT             3:56.43    3:57.42  
    r:+0.69  27.16        56.64 (29.48)
        1:26.30 (29.66)     1:56.45 (30.15)
        2:26.65 (30.20)     2:57.54 (30.89)
        3:27.77 (30.23)     3:57.42 (29.65)

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