Swimmer Taylor Ruck anchors Canada to world bronze in women's 100-metre relay
Finlay Knox posts national record in 50m fly; 2 Canadians into women's 200 IM final
Canada has its first swimming medal of the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, courtesy the women's 4x100-metre freestyle relay team.
With the Canadians fifth before the anchor leg, Ruck jumped in the water and passed her competitors from Poland and Italy to earn bronze, covering the final 100 metres in 53.26 seconds.
Rebecca Smith, Sarah Fournier, Katerine Savard and Ruck combined to finish in three minutes 37.95 seconds. The Netherlands captured gold in 3:36.61 ahead of Australia (3:37.95).
"Watching my teammates get in there and race hypes me up every time," Ruck told Swimming Canada. "Usually I don't go last so going last gave me a bit of that, which the coaches were planning on happening. I'm just so grateful again to share this medal with them."
Ruck and Smith have seven career medals at long-course worlds, tied for fifth all-time among Canadians, while Sunday's medal is a first for Fournier, a 27-year-old worlds rookie, and morning heat swimmer Ella Jansen.
"I think no one was expecting us to win a medal tonight. We have [Canadian Olympic] trials in May so we're all training really hard for that," said Savard, who earned her third medal at her seventh worlds, a national record. "We all have a chance to be part of the [Olympic] team and we're going to work really hard to help Canada win another medal this summer."
WATCH | Canada collects world relay bronze in women's 4x100m event:
In the men's 50 butterfly semifinals, Finlay Knox set a Canadian record of 23.25 seconds but it wasn't enough to qualify for Monday's final at 11:46 a.m. ET.
The 23-year-old from Okotoks, Alta., finished 1-100th of a second behind the eighth and final qualifier, Inchul Baek of South Korea, while American Michael Andrew was the top qualifier in 22.94.
"I had no expectations, just went in there and had some fun," Knox told Diving Canada. "Obviously, a little bitter I came ninth [and will miss the final] but the goal wasn't the 50 [but] prep for the rest of the week, so very happy."
Earlier Sunday, Knox swam with the men's 4x100 freestyle relay team that finished fifth in its heat and 11th overall in 3:15.74 but didn't advance to the final.
The 200 individual medley, which he won at the Pan Am Games last October in Santiago, Chile, is the main focus in Doha. He will also compete in "a few relays" and the 100 fly.
WATCH | Knox rules 200 IM at Pan Am Games in a time of 1:58.74:
Halifax's Sydney Pickrem and Ashley McMillan of Penticton, B.C., will race in the women's 200 IM final on Monday at 12:23 p.m.
Pickrem, 26, won the first of two semifinals in two minutes 8.76 seconds, only 15-100ths off her personal best and ahead of 18-year-old Chinese athlete Yu Yiting (2:08.83). Pickrem is a dual Canadian-American citizen who was born in Florida and whose family is from Nova Scotia.
"It's crazy how many times I've gone 2:08, 2:09 but I've been in different stages of my life. … I feel really confident where I'm at as a human and as a swimmer," she said.
WATCH | Full coverage of Sunday's evening races from Doha, Qatar:
The two-time Olympian capped her Pan Am Games by winning the women's 200 IM in a Games record time of 2:09.04 after winning gold in the 200 breaststroke.
The 19-year-old McMillan noted how "grateful" she is to be making her first appearance at worlds.
"I was definitely really nervous but I just kept reminding myself I worked really hard to be here," she said. "I've spent a lot of time watching this meet and wanting to be here so badly, so it's just easier to manage things when you put them in perspective."
Javier Acevedo, Sophie Angus, Emma O'Croinin, Ingrid Wilm, Pickrem, Ruck, Savard and Smith are among the veterans on the roster.
Five other Canadians are making their long-course world championship debut in Doha, including Sienna Angove, Stephen Calkins, Ella Cosgrove, Antoine Sauve and Blake Tierney.
Relay times from Doha will be ranked against those from last year's worlds to determine the 16 countries qualified for each relay in Paris.
Live streaming and extensive coverage runs through Sunday on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.
WATCH | CBC Sports' Devin Heroux, Brittany MacLean preview World Aquatics:
Chinese teen sets world mark in relay win
The first day of swimming also saw a world record.
Teenager Pan Zhanle swam the fastest 100 in history as he led off China's gold medal-winning 4x100 freestyle relay team.
His time of 46.80, with a split time of 22.26, took 6-100ths off Romanian David Popovici's world record from 2022 and established the 19-year-old as one to beat in swimming's marquee race at this year's Paris Olympics.
"Actually, I wasn't feeling in great form," Pan said. "I would've been happy with just getting on the podium. This morning [in heats], the U.S., Great Britain and Italy were all quicker than us, and I just wanted to focus on doing my job well.
"I told myself, 'Just swim hard.' I was shocked when I saw the time, I wasn't expecting to break the record now — I wanted to leave it for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games."
China won the relay in 3:11.08. Italy finished a second behind, with the United States rounding off the podium in 3:12.29.
With files from The Associated Press