The 2017 FINA (International Swimming Federation) World Championships, one of swimming’s biggest events of the year, has now wrapped up after 17 days of straight competition — and UBC made its mark.
Canada sent a total of 84 athletes to Budapest, Hungary, for the competition, and walked away with seven medals.
When considering the performances of Canada’s 26 swimmers, the swim of the event goes to Kylie Masse’s record breaking race in the 100-metre backstroke. The University of Toronto Varsity Blues and Ontario High Performance Centre veteran broke the world record in the event with a time of 58.10. Masse’s time erased the then longest-standing swimming record held by the United Kingdom’s Gemma Spofforth.
Spofforth's time to beat — standing since the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome — was 58.12.
Masse also became the first ever Canadian female champion in an individual event at the FINA Worlds.
That said, the ‘Birds also put in a good showing for their country.
Canada picked up two more bronze medals in relay events, due in large part to two T-Birds stars: Yuri “The Missile” Kisil and Markus Thormeyer.
Kisil was part of both the 4x100 mixed freestyle relay and the 4x100 mixed medley relay; Thormeyer, respectively, earned his first world championship medal in the 4x100 mixed freestyle relay alongside Kisil.
Individually, Thormeyer swam the 200-metre freestyle and clocked in at 1:50.23. Unfortunately, the time placed him 44th and out of the semi-finals.
Teammate Kisil swam two individual events: the 50-metre and 100-metre freestyle. He clocked in at 22.43 seconds in the 50-metre event and 48.56 in the 100-metre.
That 100-metre time placed Kisil ninth overall after preliminary heats, earning him a spot in the semi-finals where he swam 48.50 and finished 10th overall. The result is a step up from when he swam 49.56 and finished 29th at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia.
Fellow ̓Birds Alexander Loginov and Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson also had individual swims in Budapest.
Loginov swam 22.88 in the 50-metre freestyle alongside Kisil and finished out of the semi-finals at 47th overall.
Seltenreich-Hodgson raced in the 200-metre individual medley, clocking in at 2:11.67 in prelims. Her time was good enough for 10th place and a coveted semi-final spot, where she swam a slightly faster 2:11.61 but finished 11th overall.
Finally, UBC second-year swimmer Carson Olafson also made his senior national debut at the FINA event. He swam as part of the men’s 4x100 metre freestyle relay, swimming in both the prelims and the finals of the event. He clocked in splits of 49.07 and 49.05 respectively, helping his team to a sixth place finish.
With that, several ‘Birds return home with some serious international experience under their belt. Going forward, Thunderbirds coaches Steve Price and Derrick Schoof will look to make use of those experiences as the team bids to retain their men’s and women’s national titles in USports.