Canada takes bronze in mixed medley relay

Red Deer’s Rebecca Smith swam in morning heat

Canada picked up its second swimming medal at the world aquatic championships with a bronze in the 4×100-metre mixed medley on Wednesday.

Kylie Masse of LaSalle, Ont., Edmonton’s Richard Funk, Toronto’s Penny Oleksiak and Calgary’s Yuri Kisil set a Canadian record with a time of three minutes, 41.25 seconds to tie China for bronze.

The United States won in a world-record time of 3:38.56, followed by Australia in 3:41.21.

It’s the second medal of the championships for Masse. The 21-year-old took gold and set a world record in the women’s 100-m backstroke 24 hours earlier.

“It was such an incredible experience. That mixed relay is something I’ve never done before and isn’t offered at a lot of meets,” Masse said. “To be able to do it here at world championships was so much fun. To compete for other people as well makes it even better and is almost more motivating. You get more excited and there’s more energy so it was a really fun experience.”

Masse led off with a time of 58.22 in backstroke to put Canada sixth. Canada sat seventh after Funk’s breaststroke (59.14) and Oleksiak’s butterfly (56.18). Kisil then charged past Great Britain, Russia and Italy to vault Canada into the third-place tie.

In the morning heat, Funk teamed with Toronto’s Javier Acevedo, Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., and Winnipeg’s Chantal Van Landeghem, who also receive medals for advancing Canada to the final by qualifying third. That foursome held the Canadian record at 3:44.46 for a few hours before the final.

“Great team performance tonight from the athletes, coaches and all the staff who prepared them,” said Swimming Canada high performance director John Atkinson. “We had a great heat swim, the team then worked on what they were going to do in the final when we switched in three new swimmers. To come away from a world championships with a bronze medal for seven athletes in what is now a new Olympic event in Tokyo is a tremendous effort.”

The national relay mark was Masse’s second Canadian record of the night. She shaved 0.03 off her own previous best in the 50-metre backstroke with a time of 27.64, but finished 10th, just 0.04 seconds short of earning a spot in Thursday’s final.

Kisil finished 10th in the 100-metre freestyle semifinals with a time of 48.50.

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