AP Photo/Darko Bandic
AP Photo/Darko Bandic

Team Canada swimmers capture world championship bronze in mixed medley relay

Team Canada tied for the bronze medal in the 4x100m mixed medley relay at the FINA World Championships in Budapest on Wednesday.

A day after she was crowned world champion in the 100m backstroke, Kylie Masse led off for the quartet that combined for a national record time of 3:41.25, matching that of China. She was followed into the water by breaststroker Richard Funk, who then handed the reins to Penny Oleksiak for the butterfly leg. Yuri Kisil was the anchor, swimming the freestyle leg to move Canada up from sixth place into podium position.

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« 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 in a Swimming Canada release. « 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. »

The United States won the gold medal in a world record time of 3:38.56 while Australia claimed the silver in 3:41.21. The top five teams were all under the previous world record mark for the event which was first introduced just two years ago.

Canada had been the third-fastest team to qualify for the final thanks to a great effort in the morning preliminary heats by Javier Acevedo, Funk, Rebecca Smith and Chantal Van Landeghem. All seven swimmers will receive medals.

The 4x100m mixed medley relay was recently added to the Olympic program for Tokyo 2020. Each team includes two men and two women, but it is up to each team to decide which stroke they will swim, so strategy is very important.

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Masse was the sixth-fastest swimmer on the opening backstroke leg, but she was actually the fastest woman over that first 100m as five teams had chosen to lead off with men. In contrast, six of the eight teams elected to have a woman swim the closing freestyle leg. Canada was one of the exceptions, with Kisil posting the fastest time in the final 100m.