Home > Sports News > Masse, Ruck qualify for 200m backstroke semis after battling Aussie star McKeown

Masse, Ruck qualify for 200m backstroke semis after battling Aussie star McKeown


Kylie Masse might need star Australian swimmer Kaylee McKeown to be at less than top form if she is to capture her first Olympic gold medal in the 200-metre backstroke.

First, the Canadian record holder will need to make it through Friday’s semifinals (Thursday at 10:35 p.m. ET in Canada) after placing in a second-place tie with American Rhyan White behind top qualifier McKeown in Tokyo.

McKeown sat second behind Taylor Ruck of Kelowna, B.C., and ahead of third-place Masse late in Thursday’s heat race before taking control over the final 50 metres to post a winning time of two minutes 8.18 seconds at Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

Masse was 5-100ths of a second behind in second followed by Ruck, who was third and qualified sixth of 16 swimmers in 2:08.87.

On Tuesday, the 25-year-old Masse narrowly missed gold in the women’s 100 backstroke, earning silver after leading midway in a race won in Olympic record time by the 20-year-old McKeown, her first gold at a Summer Games.

If Masse advances to Friday’s final at 9:37 p.m. ET, she’ll be looking to add to her international haul in the event, having captured bronze at the 2019 world championships and Commonwealth Games gold a year earlier.

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More from Tokyo 2020

WATCH | Masse earns silver in 100-metre backstroke:

Australia’s Kaylee McKeown set an Olympic record with a time of 57.47 seconds, while two-time reigning world champion Kylie Masse of LaSalle, Ont., finished in second place with a time of 57.72 in the women’s Olympic 100-metre backstroke. 5:54

Ruck, who missed qualifying for the 100 backstroke final by 37-100ths of a second, is hoping for a chance to medal in the 200 after winning bronze in 100 and 200 relay competitions at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

WATCH | Masse leans on family during pandemic:

The Olympic medallist appreciates family time around the dinner table even more now than she did growing up. 1:10

Read more at CBC.ca