Canadian swimmer Masse sets 100-metre backstroke record at world championships

Canadian swimmer Kylie Masse won gold in the women’s 100-metre backstroke with a world-record time of 58.10 seconds Tuesday at the world swimming championships.

Masse became Canada’s first ever world champion in a women’s swimming event by edging the previous long-course backstroke record of 58.12 seconds set by British swimmer Gemma Spofforth at the 2009 world championships in Rome.

Masse, a native of LaSalle, Ont., is the first Canadian to hold the record since Wendy Cook in 1974.

Kathleen Baker of the United States was second in 58.58 seconds and Australia’s Emily Seebohm was third in 59.59.

Masse’s gold was Canada’s first of the championships. She became the first Canadian swimmer to set a record since Annamay Pierce set the 200-metre long-course breaststroke record in the semifinals of the 2009 championships.

Earlier, Katie Ledecky breezed to her third gold medal of the world championships, capturing the 1,500-meter freestyle by more than half the length of the pool on her most gruelling night of the meet.

Ledecky touched in 15 minutes, 31.82 seconds — more than six seconds off her world-record pace from the championships in Kazan two years ago, but clearly conserving energy for her second race of the night.

She only has a 49-minute break before returning to the pool for the semifinals of the 200 free.

Having already won the 400 free and 4×100 free relay on the opening day of swimming, Ledecky stayed on course for a record-tying six golds by a female swimmer. This was one of the biggest locks of all, and the 20-year-old was essentially just racing herself as the rest of the field fell far behind.

— With files from The Associated Press

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