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Kylie Masse hopes to take 2nd gold at Canadian Swimming Trials

Kylie Masse wins the 100 meter backstroke during the 2018 Team Canada finals in Edmonton on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Having already made a splash on the second day of the 2018 Canadian Swimming Trials, Kylie Masse will be looking to add a second gold on Saturday.

The 22-year-old is one of the shining stars of the new wave of successful Canadian women’s swimmers and proved it in her first event in Edmonton on Thursday when she blazed to first in the 100-metre backstroke with a time of 59.05, easily earning a berth in next month’s Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, also home to the 2020 Summer Olympics Games.

The native of Windsor, Ont., will compete in the 200 backstroke on Day 4 of the Trials Saturday, looking for a second gold in Edmonton in an event where she also holds a Canadian record time.

“It was good to have the 100 over first, because that is kind of my baby, but I have been working hard to get better at the 200 as well,” she said.

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“I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do in that race.”

Masse is the current world record holder in the 100 backstroke with a time of 58.10, breaking an eight-year-old record at the World Championships in Budapest last year.

In April, she won two gold medals at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia in the 100 and 200 backstroke, setting a Games record in both events. She also finished the event with a silver in the 50 backstroke.

She is hoping to keep that surge heading into Japan, and felt her early showing at the Trials was a solid start.

“I wasn’t focused on the time here, just more worried about qualifying,” Masse said. “I know it will come when it needs to. To represent Canada is always an honour. I’m definitely saving a bit for Pan Pacs. I am trying not to focus on times too much, even though that is hard to do.”

Masse also won a bronze medal in the 100 backstroke at the 2016 Sumer Olympics in Rio.

Day 3 of competition at the Trials on Friday also provided a number of strong showings.

READ MORE: Swimming Canada embracing young stars: ‘It’s raising the bar’

Watch below: On July 18, 2018, Quinn Phillips filed this report about the 2018 Canadian Swimming Trials in Edmonton.

Click to play video: 'Canada’s swimming stars converge on Edmonton’s Kinsmen Sports Centre' Canada’s swimming stars converge on Edmonton’s Kinsmen Sports Centre
Canada’s swimming stars converge on Edmonton’s Kinsmen Sports Centre – Jul 19, 2018

Mackenzie Padington of Campbell River, B.C., edged out rival Kennedy Goss in the women’s 400 free, her second gold of the event to go along with a first-place finish in the 800 free.

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“I knew it was going to be a battle, Kennedy is an amazing swimmer,” said the 19-year-old Padington. “It might not have been the time I wanted, but I know I have put in the work and will be faster at Pan-Pacs in a couple of weeks.”

The men’s 400 free was captured by Jeremy Bagshaw of Victoria, B.C.

Toronto’s Penny Oleksiak, who claimed four medals in the 2016 Rio Games, won her second event, recording a strong finish to beat Maggie MacNiel in the 100m butterfly with a time of 58.37, to go along with a gold in the 100 free Thursday.

The men’s 100 butterfly went to Josiah Binnema.

Also, winning on the day in the women’s and men’s 200 individual medley were Sydney Pickrem, who pulled out of her first event of the competition due to illness, and Javier Acevedo, respectively.

Many competitors at the Trials were also looking to qualify through to the Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships, which also take place next month in Cairns, Australia.

Multi-class races were held with winners including Tammy Cunnington (women’s 150 individual medley and 50 backstroke), Aurelie Rivard (women’s 200 individual medley), Maxime Rousselle (men’s 200 individual medley) and Danial Murphy (men’s 50 back). Saskatchewan’s Niki Ens set a new Canadian record for the S3 classification in the women’s 50 back.

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