Canada's Kylie Masse swims the back stroke in a pool.(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Masse, Wilm lead strong start at World Aquatics Swimming World Cup in Athens

Team Canada’s Kylie Masse and Ingrid Wilm are no strangers to the podium on the world stage, and the pair have gotten off to a stellar start in the first two legs of the World Aquatics Swimming World Cup. 

Through two days at the second leg in Athens, Greece, the pair have picked up two silver and two bronze medals, adding to a haul from the opening leg in Berlin, Germany, in which they, alongside Sydney Pickrem, won three silver and two bronze. 

On Friday, the Canadians shared the podium in the women’s 50m backstroke, with Wilm edging Masse by just 0.01 seconds, finishing in a time of 27.94, ahead of her counterpart at 27.95 seconds. Australia’s Kaylee McKeown took the win in 27.02 seconds.

Yet, their positions flipped in the 100m backstroke event on Saturday, as Masse finished with the silver medal in 1:00.01, ahead of Wilm’s bronze medal-winning time of 1:00.57. McKeown won that race in 57.63 seconds. 

Also in Athens, Maggie Mac Neil finished fourth in the women’s 50m backstroke in a time of 28.18 seconds, while a time of 25.12 seconds placed her fifth in the women’s 50m freestyle. 

Pickrem and Rebecca Smith also swam in Greece, with their best finishes being fourth in the 200m breaststroke and 13th in the 50m fly and 200m freestyle, respectively. 

The two days of racing in Athens continued a strong start to the three-leg World Cup tour for Canadians, building on the first leg in Berlin while giving them a boost heading into the final stop in Budapest, Hungary, where athletes return to the pool that hosted the 2022 World Aquatics Championships. 

Building on Berlin

Last week in Berlin, Wilm captured silver in the women’s 50m backstroke and bronze in the 100m, while Masse finished in silver medal position in the 100m, missing the podium in the 50m before adding a third-place finish in the women’s 200m backstroke.

Sydney Pickrem has been the only other Canadian to land on a World Cup podium through the first two legs, as she captured the silver medal in the women’s 200m medley in Berlin. 

Canadian swimmers will look to carry their momentum into Sunday, the final day of racing in Athens, before looking ahead to the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games from October 21-25 (Days 1 to 5).

READ: Canada’s Maggie Mac Neil wins World Championship silver in 100m butterfly

The final day of swimming in Athens includes the women’s 100m butterfly, which Mac Neil enters as the reigning World Championship silver medalist from the summer’s Fukuoka 2023 World Aquatics Championships.