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Finlay Knox swims to world bronze in Canadian record time for 1st individual senior medal

Canadian swimmers continued to climb the podium on Wednesday at the world short course championships in Melbourne, Australia, including a gold medal won by Maggie Mac Neil in the women’s 50-metre butterfly.

The Canadian swam to a national-record finish in 24.64 seconds, tying with American Torri Huske for first place. China’s Zhang Yufei (24.71) rounded out the podium in third place.

Mac Neil, of London, Ont., already had a bronze medal victory to her credit after helping Canada to a third-place finish in Tuesday’s 4x100m final.

The 22-year-old, who wears glasses outside of the pool, stated it took a defeat for her to realize she’d won gold.

“First, I’m like blind,” joked Mac Neil, who famously squinted at the scoreboard after winning 100m butterfly gold at the Tokyo Olympics. “I couldn’t really see around my block but then Torri was like, ‘We tied!’ And I was like, ‘Oh, really?'”

In the women’s backstroke, Calgary’s Ingrid Wilm tied for bronze with Claire Curzan of the U.S., both touching the wall in 55.74. Fellow Canadian Kylie Masse, of La Salle, Ont., concluded sixth in a time of 56.18.

“I’m happy I went a faster time than semis. That’s an incredibly fast field so I went in there with no expectations,” Wilm said.

Australian swimmers Kaylee McKeown (55.49) and Mollie O’Callaghan (55.62) took gold and silver, respectively.

Mac Neil and Masse combined forces with Toronto’s Javier Acevedo and Montreal’s Ilya Kharun to help the Canadian mixed 50m medley relay team win bronze. The Canadians’ time of 1:36.93, was a little over a second behind the world-record pace of the American team (1:35.15).

Canada initially touched in fifth, but a pair of disqualifications bumped the foursome onto the podium.

“We’re heading to our team area and then all of a sudden we see one team gets DQ’d then another. So it was kind of a roller-coaster of emotions. It was super fun though and we all were excited,” said Acevedo, a two-time Olympian. “I’m just really happy with how we all stepped up, and we got a little lucky as well.”

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