Kylie Masse of LaSalle, Ontario won the bronze medal for Canada on Saturday in the women’s 200 metre backstroke at the 2019 World Aquatics Championship in Gwangju, South Korea. With the medal, Masse tied Sydney Pickrem of Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the most individual medals won by a Canadian female swimmer (three) in the history of the World Aquatics Championship. With Masse’s bronze, Team Canada set a record for the most medals won in swimming in the history of the World Aquatics Championship with seven. Canada’s previous record was six set in West Berlin, Germany in 1978.
In the women’s 200 metre backstroke on Saturday, Masse posted a third place time of 2:06.62. Regan Smith of the United States won the gold medal with a time of 2:03.69. Kaylee McKeown of Australia won the silver medal with a time of 2:06.26. Masse reached the podium by five one-hundredths of a second over Margherita Panziera of Italy. Panziera finished in fourth place with a time of 2:06.67.
Even though Masse is one of the world’s best female backstrokers at the moment, she may not be favoured to win Olympic gold in the women’s 100 metres at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Masse has won the gold medal in the women’s 100 metre backstroke at the last two World Aquatics Championships, including a gold medal in world record time of 58.10 in 2017 in Budapest, but could receive a serious challenge from Smith at next year’s Olympic Games.
Smith, did not compete in the women’s 100 metre backstroke at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships as the United States went with Kathleen Baker and Olivia Smoliga instead. It would have been very interesting to see Smith compete in the women’s 100 metre backstroke because she was a lot faster in the first women’s 100 metres than Masse in the women’s 200 metre backstroke.