Masse surprises Caldwell to win 200m backstroke at Team Canada Trials

Kylie Masse wins 200-metre backstroke

VICTORIA — Kylie Masse upset Hilary Caldwell in the women’s 200-metre backstroke Saturday night at the 2017 Team Canada Trials.

Masse, of Windsor, Ont., overtook the Olympic bronze medallist in the final few metres to win in two minutes 7.23 seconds. Caldwell was just .06 seconds behind.

They were the two fastest times at that distance this season and well under the FINA time to qualify for this summer’s world championships.

“It’s incredible,” said Masse. “She’s someone I’ve looked up to in the backstroke for a long time now. It’s really cool to be racing side-by-side with her.”

Caldwell said she didn’t see Masse gaining ground on her during the race.

“I couldn’t see her at all in the last 50 metres,” said the White Rock, B.C., native. “I need to work on my peripheral vision apparently.

“I’m really pleased with the time. It’s the best I’ve ever been at this time of year. I wanted to be a few hundredths faster but I can’t be too mad.”

Earlier this week Caldwell earned a nomination for the world championship team in the 100 backstroke.

Winnipeg’s MacKenzie Glover was third in 2:11.17. Olympian Dominique Bouchard was fourth in 2:11.24, also under the standard, but with just two spots per event available.

“The women’s 200 backstroke saw world-class performances from both Kylie and Hilary tonight. It’s great to see them push each other in that event.” said John Atkinson, Swimming Canada’s high performance director.

Toronto’s Penny Oleksiak caught Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., in the final 25 metres to win the 100 butterfly in 57.35 seconds.

Savard, who was swimming with a suit she ripped during her starting dive, finished in 58.27. Both women were under the qualifying time of 58.48.

“It’s good to have people I can chase,” said Oleksiak, who won a bronze medal in the event at the Rio Summer Olympics. “That’s when I do my best racing, when I can chase someone at the beginning and then try to come home at the end.”

Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., was third in 58.64.

Savard previously qualified in the 200 freestyle and Oleksiak in the 100 freestyle.

The trials, which end Sunday, are being used to earn a spot on the Canadian team which will compete at the FINA world championships in Budapest, Hungary in July.

To qualify for individual events at the world championships, swimmers must finish in the top two in their races and be under the FINA A qualifying time.

Mackenzie Padington held off a late challenge by Kennedy Goss to win the women’s 400 freestyle. Padington thrilled the hometown crowd by winning in 4:09.04, which is 1.53 under the FINA qualifying time.

“I’m so shocked,” said the 18-year-old from Campbell River, B.C. “I wasn’t expecting this. It sets me up great. I have literally no words.”

Goss, of Toronto, was second in 4:10.80, just missing the qualifying time. Danica Ludlow of Prince George, B.C., was third in 4:11.39.

Victoria’s Jeremy Bagshaw won the men’s 400 freestyle in 3:50.27 but was 2.12 seconds over the qualifying time.

Rob Hill, who swims for the Chena Swim Club, won the men’s 200 backstroke in 2:00.12 but failed to break the qualifying time.

The Canadian Press

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