Halifax, NS- Four days into the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, a third U SPORTS alumna has made a splash worthy of a podium finish.
Former U of T Varsity Blue Kylie Masse cruised to a silver medal finish in the women’s 100-metre backstroke event, only a hair behind Kaylee McKeown of Australia. Only 0.25 seconds separated Masse from McKeown’s Olympic record time of 57.47.
Masse had already established herself as a top dog in this event; she captured a bronze medal in Rio five years ago.
Additionally, she set some of the best numbers of her career, and of all-time, this Olympics. Before her performance in the final, the 58.17 she swam in her preliminary heat set an Olympic record. This was surpassed several times through the competition before being captured for good by McKeown today.
Masse is the second Canadian ever to take a silver medal in this event. The first to do so was Elaine Tanner, finishing second at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. A Canadian woman has never won gold in the 100-metre backstroke. However, Mark Tewksbury topped the men’s podium in the same event at the 1992 Barcelona games.
This is the second medal from the Tokyo pool earned in part by U SPORTS athletes or alumni. The Canadian 4×100-metre women’s swim relay team took silver on Sunday morning. Along with Canadian gold medallist Maggie Mac Neil and legend-in-the-making Penny Oleksiak, UBC’s Kayla Sanchez and U of T/Calgary’s Rebecca Smith were critical in nudging ahead of the American team by 0.3 seconds for the silver medal finish.
U SPORTS is well-represented on the Canadian Olympic swim squad, with nearly a third of the team having ties to Canadian university teams.
Look for Masse to appear in the women’s 4×100-metre medley relay event Friday. In the meantime, all eyes will be on women’s 200-metre freestyle final tomorrow just after 9:30 p.m. Eastern, as Oleksiak will challenge for yet another medal. Possibly her first gold of the 2020 Olympics.