GWANGJU, South Korea (Team Canada) – Swimmer Kylie Masse won Canada’s second gold medal in as may days on Tuesday night, stepping to the top of the podium in the 100-metre backstroke at the Summer Universiade.
The 19-year-old student-athlete and reigning Female Rookie of the Year at the University of Toronto has arrived in style at Gwangju, competing in her first major international competition against more experienced swimmers.
Seemingly with ease, Masse posted the best time in the preliminary round and then did the same in the semi-final. Her final swim, which clocked in at 59.97 for a personal best, was 14 one-hundredths of a second off the Universiade record. The native of LaSalle, Ont., finished 68 one-hundredths ahead of the second place finisher. Americans Elizabeth Pelton and Rachel Bootsma joined Masse on the podium.
“I planned my race to finish strong in the final 25 metres. I could see splashes beside me but I wasn’t really sure where I was so I just kept going and hoped to touch the wall first. It’s really exciting, especially to represent Canada and wear the Maple Leaf – it’s a great honour”, said Masse.
Canada has won a swimming medal in each of the last six Universiades. In Kazan, Russia in 2013 Canada won five medals in the pool with one gold taken by Katerine Savard in the 100-metre butterfly.
Masse’s victory came a little more than 24 hours after divers Celina Toth (University of Victoria) and Carol-Ann Ware (Concordia University) broke through with Canada’s first medal, also a gold, in the 10-metre platform synchronized event.
Also in action Tuesday night was Barbara Jardin (University of Montreal) who took part in the 400m freestyle final. Jardin finished eighth with a time of 4:17.43. The swimming events continue Wednesday up until July 11.