Oleksiak, Liendo help Canada to record medal haul at world aquatics championships

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BUDAPEST, Hungary — Penny Oleksiak and Joshua Liendo helped Canada reach a record medal haul on Friday at the world aquatics championships.

Toronto's Oleksiak won a Canadian-record eighth career medal and Liendo, from Markham, Ont., picked up two medals in a jam-packed three-final day to give Canada a record nine medals (two gold, four silver, three bronze) heading into the final day of swimming competition in Budapest.

Liendo swam the opening leg and Oleksiak took on anchor duty as Canada picked up a silver medal in the 4x100 mixed freestyle relay.

The Canadian men's water polo team withdrew from the world championship Friday because of COVID-19 cases. A match against Italy scheduled for Thursday was postponed to Friday and then cancelled outright.

"This decision was made in order to ensure and preserve the short and long-term overall health, safety and well being of participants, which always remains Water Polo Canada’s first and foremost priority," Water Polo Canada said Friday in a statement.

"The men’s national team program will now focus on adequate recovery before turning its attention towards preparing for success at future international events."

Oleksiak's overall world championship medal tally of two silver and six bronze put her one ahead of teammate Kylie Masse for most ever for a Canadian.

Javier Acevedo and Kayla Sanchez, both from Toronto, swam the second and third leg respectively as Canada finished in three minutes 20.61 seconds.

Australia finished first in a world-record time of 3:19.38, and the United States was third in 3:21.09.

The relay capped a busy day for Liendo, who now has three medals at the world championships. He claimed his second earlier Friday with a bronze in the men's 100-metre butterfly.

Liendo posted a time of 50.97 seconds, just .03 seconds behind silver medallist Naoki Mizunuma of Japan.

Local favourite Kristof Milak of Hungary took gold comfortably in 50.14 seconds.

Liendo started the day by competing in the men's 50-metre freestyle final, finishing fifth in 21.61 seconds — .04 seconds behind bronze medallist Maxime Grousset of France.

Britain's Benjamin Proud (21.32) won gold and American Michael Andrew (21.41) took silver.

Liendo won his first ever world championship medal Wednesday with a bronze in the men's 100 freestyle.

Masse, of LaSalle, Ont., was fifth in the women's 200-metre backstroke in two minutes eight seconds. Masse, who claimed silver in the event at the Tokyo Games. was in third at the halfway point of the race before the leaders pulled away.

Australia's Kaylee McKeown was first in 2:05.08, followed by Americans Phoebe Bacon (2:05.12) and Rhyan White (2:06.96).

Masse won the 50-metre backstroke and took silver in the 100 backstroke earlier this week to give her seven career world championship medals.

Canada's women's water polo team dropped an 11-7 decision to Olympic bronze medallist Hungary on Friday to fall to 1-1-1.

Hayley McKelvey of North Delta, B.C., scored three goals and Montreal's Axelle Crevier scored twice for Canada, with Toronto's Verica Bakoc and Kyra Christmas of High River, Alta., contributing single goals.

Canada's women face the Netherlands on Sunday in a round-of-16 match.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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