Toronto swimmer Summer McIntosh will enter the women’s 200-meter butterfly final at the 19th FINA world aquatics championships as a junior record holder.
The 15-year-old accomplished the feat Tuesday, lowering her Canadian record to a season world-leading time of two minutes 5.79 seconds and qualifying first overall for Wednesday’s 12:02 pm ET final in Budapest, Hungary.
Suzuka Hasegawa held the previous mark of 2:06.29 since April 15, 2017 at the Japanese championships in Nagoya.
“I didn’t expect to go 2:05,” McIntosh told Swimming Canada. “But as soon as I stepped out with all the energy and excitement form the crowd, I just fed off that. I got a lot of adrenaline and motivation and put it down tonight.”
In the second of two semifinals, McIntosh defeated American Regan Smith (2:07.13) who was fresh off qualifying for the 50 backstroke final at Duna Arena. Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas, the defending world champion in the 200 free, was third at 2:07.89.
“Summer is a once-in-a-generation swimmer,” longtime CBC Sports swimming analyst Byron MacDonald said in April. “You don’t see this very often and they’re very special. And she’s going to get better and better and better.”
WATCH | McIntosh wins world 200m butterfly semifinal in junior record time:
Smith trailed McIntosh by 17-100ths of a second after 50 meters and 56-100ths midway through the race. Competing in a new event at her debut worlds, the Canadian was quick through 100 and extended her lead by 71-100ths at the 150-meter mark, got clear of Smith in the last 50 minutes and held off the reigning Olympic silver medallist for the win.
On Saturday, McIntosh won a silver medal in the 400 free and will also race the 400 individual medley in Budapest.
WATCH | 15-year-old McIntosh swims to world championship silver:
Last summer, a 14-year-old McIntosh was the youngest member of the Canadian Olympic team in Tokyo but certainly didn’t show her age on the world’s grandest athletic stage.
She placed fourth in the 400 free, at that point lowering the Canadian record twice. She was ninth in the 200 free and 11th in the 800 free, setting a national age group record. She was also part of the 200 relay squad that finished fourth in national record time, while McIntosh’s opening-leg swim broke the Canadian age group record.
Flying in 400 free
During national trials two months ago in Victoria, McIntosh turned heads by winning four events and swimming the 400 free in the third-fastest time this year.
In March, the 15-year-old swam the third-fastest time ever in the 400 IM during an invitational trials prep event.
WATCH | Why McIntosh’s performance is a big deal:
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Taylor Ruck of Kelowna, BC appeared headed for a medal through 150 meters of the 200 freestyle but fell off the pace down the stretch and tied for the sixth in 1:57.24 with Charlotte Bonnet of France.
Ruck held a slim advantage over Bonnet in the first 50 meters and was 20-100ths behind eventual winner Junxuan Yang of China at the midway mark. The Canadian remained in second through 150, 22-100ths back of Yang.
“I did the best I could and I’m going to use this as a building block,” Ruck said.
On Saturday, she won’t relay silver in the free with Penny Oleksiak, Maggie Mac Neil and Kayla Sanchez. Oleksiak didn’t race on Tuesday’s 200 free semifinals after she was disqualified for a false start in the semifinals on Monday.
Masse qualifies 1st for 50m backstroke final
Three other Canadians qualified for finals, led by two-time champion Kylie Masse of LaSalle, Ont., in the 50 backstroke.
She won her semifinal heat and qualified first for Wednesday’s 12:22 pm final in 27.22 seconds while fellow Canadian Ingrid Wilm was 17-100ths of a second back in third, lowering her personal best to 27.39 from 27.55 earlier Tuesday in her long-course worlds debut. The Calgary native qualified fourth for the final.
“I’m happy to finally be 27-low,” Wilm said. “Before this year I hadn’t even cracked 28. I am hoping to get the momentum going. I believe Kylie will easily be able to go 26 and I’m … hoping to be able to follow her to that barrier.”
Masse, who was the fastest in the preliminaries of the 50 backstroke (27.26), also missed out on winning a third consecutive world title in the 100 backoke, touching the wall second behind in 58.40 seconds American Regan Smith (58.22).
WATCH | Masse captures backstroke silver medal at aquatics worlds:
“It’s such a process and a step-by-step in order to perform, recover properly and set yourself up for the next day,” Masse said.
Masse has won a backstroke medal at 10 consecutive international competitions dating to 2015, the longest run by a Canadian woman.
“I think over the last couple of years I’ve learned how to hone in on what I need to do, minimize the best distractions and minimize the energy that I’m spending on other things so that I can perform to the best of my ability the next day.”
Josh Liendo will represent Canada in the men’s 100 freestyle final after finishing second to world record holder and fellow teen David Popovic of Romania in the second of two semifinals.
Liendo, 19, had a strong start and got ahead of Popovic in the first 25 or 30 metres on the way to a 47.55 finish, a personal best and nearly a second faster than his 48.16 qualifying time.
WATCH | Liendo ‘glad’ to be role model for Black swimmers:
Liendo is only 28-100ths off Brent Hayden’s national mark that has stood since 2009 in the fast suit era.
“It’s in the back of my mind,” said Liendo. “I know it’s a fast time in a super suit, but it’s going to take faster than that time to win [the world title] so we’ll see.”
The 17-year-old Popovic set a world junior record with his 47.13 effort.
Toronto resident Ruslan Gaziev didn’t qualify for the final, his 49-flat placing him last of 16 swimmers.
Canada’s men’s water polo squad falls to Spain
The Canadian men’s water polo team opened with a 19-2 loss Tuesday to Spain.
Montreal’s Reuel D’Souza and Nicolas Constantin-Bicari of Repentigny, Que., scored for Canada.
The women’s team faces Columbia on Wednesday after tying 7-7 with Italy to start the championship.
Canada’s artistic swim team ranked eighth after the technical routine Tuesday. They’ll swim their preliminary free routine Wednesday.
Dressel drops out of 100m freestyle semis
Two-time world champion Caeleb Dressel will not be defending his title in the men’s 100 freestyle in Budapest after withdrawing from the semifinals.
Dressel was included in the initial start list for Tuesday’s race but was not included in an updated version with reserve Hwang Sun-woo of South Korea taking his place.
“A decision has been made by Team USA in consultation with Caeleb, his coach, and the team’s medical staff for him to withdraw from the 100-metre freestyle event on medical grounds. The team will determine his participation in the events later in the week ,” US Swimming told The Associated Press in a statement.
Dressel is due to race the men’s 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly later in the worlds.
Dressel was second-fastest in qualifying for the semifinals with a time of 47.95, but will not now compete against Romania’s David Popovici, who was fastest at 47.60.
Popovici said he would have preferred to have raced Dressel in the semifinals.
“It’s sort of a shame that I didn’t get to. But for the moment, I just hope he’s okay, because I don’t really know what happened,” Popovici said. “But I’m sure he and his team made the right choice for whatever happened or whatever their plan is, because I’m sure they’ve got great people behind him.”
Hungary’s Milak shatters his world butterfly mark
Hungarian Kristof Milak smashed his own world record to win the men’s 200 butterfly, powering to the gold medal in a time of 1:50.34.
Olympic champion Milak beat the record he set at the 2019 worlds in Gwangju by 0.39 seconds and finished 3.03 seconds ahead of silver medallist Leon Marchand of France.
The 22-year-old Milak delighted the home crowd by providing them with Hungary’s first gold at these championships.
“It was a fantastic feeling. As soon as I stepped in the starting area, I didn’t hear or see anything. It was like being in a dream. I waited three years to swim a personal best and it came off,” he said.