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Canada's Masse, Pickrem claim wins as Toronto Titans kick off final match of ISL regular season

·5 min read
Canada's Kylie Masse, pictured at the Olympic Swimming Trials in June, gave the Toronto Titans a win in the 50-metre backstroke with a time of 26.23 seconds on Thursday in Naples, Italy. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Canada's Kylie Masse, pictured at the Olympic Swimming Trials in June, gave the Toronto Titans a win in the 50-metre backstroke with a time of 26.23 seconds on Thursday in Naples, Italy. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The Toronto Titans sit fourth after the opening day of their final match of the International Swimming League's regular season, while the undefeated Energy Standard took a commanding lead following another strong performance on Thursday in Naples, Italy.

Canadian Olympic medallist Kylie Masse gave the Titans their fourth victory of the match with a tight win in the women's 50-metre backstroke (26.23 seconds), but it ultimately wasn't enough to push Toronto up the match standings.

Fellow Canadian Olympian Sydney Pickrem won the women's 200 individual medley to help move the London Roar into second place — touching the wall in 2:04.59 for the fastest time of the ISL season.

Energy Standard leads with 300.5 points entering the final day, followed by London with 227 points, D.C. Trident with 193 points, and Toronto with 185.5 points.

WATCH | Canada's Pickrem posts fastest time of ISL season in women's 200m IM:

The top six teams in the regular season standings automatically advance to the playoffs in November, while the bottom four teams will square off in the play-in wildcard match on Sept. 29-30 for the two remaining post-season spots.

Toronto has already secured a playoff spot along with Energy Standard and the London Roar, while the D.C. Trident are guaranteed a spot in next week's play-in match.

Led by numerous Canadian Olympians, the Titans took an early lead after winning the first three events of the day.

Louise Hansson got things started for Toronto by winning the women's 100 butterfly to earn 10 points with a time of 55.67, and Marius Kusch followed it up with a victory in the men's 100 butterfly — touching in 49.73 to add nine points.

The Titans then added 17 points with a 1-2 finish in the women's 200 backstroke. Lisa Bratton (2:02:42) finished just ahead of Masse, who made a late surge to finish second in 2:02:45.

Fellow Canadian Mary-Sophie Harvey touched third with a time of 2:03.58, giving Energy Standard six points.

Energy Standard then proceeded to roll off six straight wins to claim the lead while Toronto fell behind, including a massive victory in the women's 4x100 freestyle relay that created major separation.

Evgenii Rylov won the men's 200 backstroke (1:49.93), and Evgeniia Chikunova claimed the women's 200 breaststroke (2:17.57) as Energy Standard added 27 combined points. Chikunova also set a new world junior record in the process.

Canada's Bailey Andison finished second for the Trident with a time of 2:19:66 to earn seven points.

Sarah Sjostrom, Femke Heemskerk, Siobhan Haughey and Fanny Teijonsalo claimed a dominant win for Energy Standard in the women's 4x100 freestyle relay — earning 38 points with a time of 3:28:88.

The Titans came in second and earned 14 points, as Canada's Kayla Sanchez teamed up with Kasia Wasick, Michelle Coleman and Hansson to post a time of 3:29:81.

WATCH | 4-time Olympic medallist Masse wins women's 50m backstroke:

Ben Proud added 12 more points for Energy Standard with a winning time of 20.84 in the men's 50 freestyle, while four-time Canadian Olympian Brent Hayden finished sixth to give Toronto three points.

Toronto went on to add seven more points with a second-place finish in the men's 200 individual medley, as Canada's Finlay Knox touched the wall in 1:52.70 behind winner Andreas Vazaios of the Trident (1:52.24).

Pickrem gave the Roar their first win of the match with a victory in the women's 200 individual medley, finishing ahead of Harvey in second (2:05.30). Canada's Andison of the Trident and Tessa Cieplucha of the Titans finished third and fourth, respectively.

Energy Standard star Ilya Shymanovich earned 19 points while the team added 26 total points in the men's 50 breaststroke. Shymanovich and Felipe Lima finished 1-2 for Energy Standard with times of 25.56 and 26.18, respectively.

Canadian Olympic medallist Kayla Sanchez came in seventh in the women's 50 breaststroke for the Titans with a time of 31.27, with the 19-point victory going to Alia Atkinson of the Roar.

Canada's Yuri Kisil helped lead the Titans to a second-place finish in the men's 4x100 freestyle relay (3:08.06), swimming along with Hayden, Kusch and Blake Pieroni. The event was won by the Roar's Kyle Chalmers, Dylan Carter, Katsumi Nakamura and Edward Mildred with a time of 3:06.50.

Masse claimed the women's 50 backstroke while earning nine points for Toronto, and the team's final win came in the men's 400 freestyle when Luc Kroon touched first in 3:40.74 to notch 11 points.

Canada's Cole Pratt failed to earn a point for the Titans in the men's 50 backstroke after finishing seventh, while teammate Shane Ryan came in second with a time of 23.39 behind London's Guilherme Guido (22.73).

Masse helped the Titans place third in the women's 4x100 medley with a time of 3:49.34, while the race was won by the Roar (3:48.58) ahead of second-place finishers Energy Standard (3:48.96).

Energy Standard closed out the day with a decisive win in the men's 4x100 medley, increasing the lead by 24 points while adding even more momentum entering the final day of the match.

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