Kylie Jacqueline Masse (born January 18, 1996) is a Canadian competitive swimmer.[3] She is a four-time Olympic medallist, having tied for the bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the 100 m backstroke and then won silver medals at the 2020 Summer Olympics in both the 100 m and 200 m backstroke and a bronze medal in the 4x100 m medley. Masse is a two-time world champion in the 100 m backstroke, breaking the eight year old world record in the process, which she held until July 2018. While winning her title in Budapest at the 2017 World Aquatics Championships she became the first Canadian woman to become a world champion in a swimming event.[4] She subsequently became the first Canadian woman to defend her world title at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships.[5] She is currently the captain for the Toronto Titans of the International Swimming League.

Kylie Masse
Kylie Masse CBC.jpg
Personal information
Full nameKylie Jacqueline Masse
National team Canada
Born (1996-01-18) January 18, 1996 (age 27)[1]
Windsor, Ontario,[2] Canada
Height172 cm (5 ft 8 in)[3][2]
Weight61 kg (134 lb)[3]
ClubWindsor Essex Swim Team Toronto Titans (ISL)
College teamUniversity of Toronto
CoachByron MacDonald, Ben Titley, Ryan Mallette, Gael Chaubet

Masse won two gold medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the 100 m and 200 m backstroke, setting a games record in both events, and finished the games with a silver in the 50 m backstroke.[6] She is also the Canadian record holder in the 100 m backstroke.[7] Masse won gold in the 100 m backstroke at the 2015 Summer Universiade and was the 2015-16 CIS swimmer of the year while swimming at the University of Toronto.[8]


Early careerEdit

Masse started swimming at a young age for the Windsor Essex Swim team and was coached by Andrei Semenov. She did not achieve success in the junior ranks, and in 2014 was rated 201st overall in the global rankings. She was then recruited to swim with the University of Toronto swim team, where her rapidly improving performances earned her the award for CIS swimmer of the year in both 2015 and 2016.[9]

In April of 2015, Masse participated in the Canadian swimming trials, hoping to make the team for the 2015 Pan American Games that were scheduled to be held on home soil in Toronto. She did not qualify for the Pan American Games, to her disappointment, but was instead named to the Canadian team for the 2015 Summer Universiade in Gwangju.[10] In her first senior international event, Masse qualified to the final in the 100 m backstroke, where she was, at age 19, the youngest swimmer in the field. She won the gold medal, one of two for the Canadian team at the Universiade.[11] Reflecting on the championship title five years later, Masse would remark that it "gave me so much confidence in my swimming" and propelled her to further results.[10]

2016 seasonEdit

2016 Summer OlympicsEdit

Masse qualified for the Canadian team for the 2016 Summer Olympics.[12] Masse was Canada's lead competitor in the 100 m backstroke at the games, where set and improved the national record in the 100 m backstroke in both the heats and semi-finals. In the final she swam to a bronze medal tie with Fu Yuanhui while again bettering the national record, setting it at 58.76.[13]

On the final day of swimming competition, Masse participated in her second event of the games, performing the backstroke leg for the Canadian women's team in the 4x100 m medley relay. Expectations for the team had been somewhat raised due to the strong performances of members throughout, including both Masse and breakout star Penny Oleksiak, but they ultimately finished in fifth place.[14]

2016 World Swimming ChampionshipsEdit

Following Rio de Janeiro, Masse's next event was her first World Swimming Championships, held in a short course (25 m) pool. The 2016 edition was held in her hometown of Windsor, Ontario, where her Olympic success had raised her to the level of local celebrity.[15] Masse won the silver medal in the 100 m backstroke, finishing behind only reigning Olympic champion Katinka Hosszú.[9] She won a second silver medal as part of the Canadian Canadian 4x100 m medley relay team.[16] Commenting on the results, her coach Byron MacDonald predicted "the upside for Kylie is tremendous. You have to remember she's new to this. Anything can happen right now. She has not hit her limit yet."[15]

2017 seasonEdit

At the 2017 Canadian Swimming Championships, Masse broke the Americas record in the 100 m backstroke in a time of 58.21, which was also the fastest time ever in a textile suit and the third-fastest time in history at that time.[17]

Masse was assigned to compete at the 2017 World Aquatics Championships in Budapest. There she broke a world record that had stood for eight years, en route to winning her first world championship title in 58.10 seconds.[4] She became the first Canadian woman to become a world champion and first Canadian to win a title since Brent Hayden.[4] An elated Masse said after the race that "I don't think it's really sunk in yet. I touched the wall, I looked back and I had to make sure I was looking at the right name and the right time. I was just super excited in the moment. After the Olympics I just gained a lot more confidence in myself and experience. I gained a lot from just doing that routine for a week, doing prelims, semis and finals. All that experience really helps and makes you feel more confident."[4]

Masse followed up her world record by participating in the final of the mixed 4x100 m medley with the lead-off backstroke leg of the race. Yuri Kisil anchored the team in the final freestyle leg, pulling the team into a tie for bronze with the Chinese team.[18] She competed in the women's 200 m backstroke setting the Canadian record at 2:05.97 in the semis and qualifying for the final second overall, but was unable to duplicate her time and placed fifth at 2:07.04 ahead of teammate Hilary Caldwell.[19] Following the championships the town of LaSalle, Ontario dedicated an August 18 day to fest her accomplishments and celebrated with her and a town barbecue.[20]

2018 seasonEdit

Masse was named as part of Canada's team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.[21][22] She began her part of the competition in her preferred event, the 100 m. Masse set two Commonwealth Games records en route to the final. In the final she again set the record, just out-touching Emily Seebohm for the gold medal. After seeing she had won the event she told reports how she felt about the win and coming in to the event as the favourite, saying, "Relief, happiness. Just coming into another big meet with kind of a target on your back is something relatively new to me. So I’m still trying to kind of focus on my stroke and what I can control and not worry too much about outside pressures or anything like that."[23] Masse followed up her victory in the 100 m back with a gold in the 200 m backstroke the next day. She again set a Commonwealth Games record, finishing ahead of 17-year-old teammate Taylor Ruck.[24] Masse ended her games with a silver medal and a Canadian record in the 50 m backstroke and another silver medal in 4 × 100 m medley relay event.

Following the Commonwealth Games, Masse made her Pan Pacific Swimming Championships debut at the 2018 edition in Tokyo. The 100 m backstroke was anticipated to be one of the highlights, featuring as did reigning World champion Masse as well as top rivals Seebohm and Kathleen Baker, the latter having broken Masse's world record earlier in the season. Masse won the gold medal, finishing 0.11 ahead of Seebohm, though she came up short of reclaiming her world record.[25][26] She also competed in the 200 m backstroke event, finishing in fourth place, 0.54 seconds behind bronze medallist Regan Smith.[27] She was also part of the Canadian team in the 4x100 m medley relay, which finished in fourth place.[28] Masse was named the female swimmer of the championships.[27]

2019–20 seasonsEdit

At the 2019 World Aquatics Championships Masse entered the competition to defend her title in the 100 m backstroke. In the final she found in herself in fourth place through the first 50 m but passed Minna Atherton on her way to her second consecutive world title in the 100.[29] With the victory Masse became the first Canadian swimmer to defend a world title and only the second to win two golds at the event.[29] She then competed in the 200 m backstroke where she finished in third place. Masse concluded her world championships with a third medal when she won bronze as part of the 4x100 medley relay and her fifth medal over her career at the event. Her three individual medals at worlds in total equalled the number achieved by fellow Canadian Sydney Pickrem and her five world medals in total now tied Penny Oleksiak.[30][31]

On March 18, 2020, Masse was signed to the Toronto Titans of the International Swimming League as the team captain.[32] This was to be Masse's first time in the ISL. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic upended the planned swimming calendar, including delaying the 2020 Summer Olympics by a year. With training facilities closed in Canada starting in March, Masse was unable to train in a competitive environment for several months, resorting to out-of-water training at home and making use of her parents' pool. In June, she opted to leave the University of Toronto's swimming program to join the Canadian national team, as its facility was reopening.[33]

After seven months away from competition, Masse travelled to Budapest to join the ISL. October 25, 2020, in her ISL debut during Match 3, she finished 8th in the match MVP standings with 30.5 points. She won the 100m backstroke with a time of 56.38 seconds.[34] On November 1, 2020, during Match 6 of the ISL, Masse won the 50m backstroke and helped her team win the 4x100 medley relay. As a result for the medley win, her team got to pick which skin they wanted to race in. On November 2, Masse won the 100m backstroke, and the skin for the 50m backstroke. [35] On November 5, 2020, during Match 7, Masse won the 50m backstroke again.[36]

2021 seasonEdit

2020 Summer OlympicsEdit

Despite having already been named to the Canadian Olympic team, Masse competed at the national swimming trials, going below the 58-second mark for the first time to win the 100 m backstroke event with a time of 57.70 seconds. Competing first in the 100 m backstroke event, Masse was identified as one of the three medal favourites, alongside Australia's Kaylee McKeown and American Regan Smith. Masse set an Olympic record in her first heat, which was broken minutes later by McKeown, and then in turn by Smith. Masse won her semi-final over McKeown, while Smith won the other with a fourth Olympic record.[33] In the event final, she came second behind McKeown, taking the silver medal in 57.72 seconds.[37]

Masse's second event was the 200 m backstroke, which she had not contested at the Rio Olympics. She was again cited as one of the medal favourites, alongside McKeown and American Rhyan White, and placed second behind McKeown in both the heats and the semifinals, tying with White in the latter.[38] In the final, Masse lead McKeown through the first three lengths of the race, ultimately being overtaken in the final stretch, and won her second silver medal of the Games. In the process she set a new national record.[39]

For her final event, Masse was again the backstroke leg of Canada's team in the 4×100 m medley relay, facing off again against McKeown and Smith. Masse won her segment of the competition with a 57.90 time, while the Canadians took the bronze medal, Masse's fourth.[40]

2021 World Swimming ChampionshipsEdit

Masse ended the year at the 2021 FINA World Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi. Masse's first event was the 100 m backstroke, where she won silver, finishing just behind Sweden's Louise Hansson while setting a Canadian record in the process.[41] She then competed in the 200 m where she won silver behind Rhyan White, though in this distance Masse told media she was disappointed with her time though content with the medal.[42] Masse then competed in the 50 m where she won a third medal behind teammate Maggie Mac Neil who set a world record.[43] She added a silver medal in the women's 4×100 m medley relay to win her fourth silver medal of the competition and tenth total medal won at a World Championships to make her the most decorated swimmer at the World Championships.[43]

2022 seasonEdit

After competing at the Canadian swimming trials, Masse was named to the Canadian team for the 2022 World Aquatics Championships, held again in Budapest. Beginning the competition in the 100 m backstroke, she finished first in both her heat and her semi-final.[44] She won the silver medal, finishing 0.18 behind Regan Smith, standing on her third consecutive World podium but missing another title defence.[45] Masse then placed first in the heats and semi-finals of the 50 m backstroke, qualifying to that event final for the first time.[46] She won the gold medal, her third at the World Championships, finishing 0.08 seconds ahead of American silver medallist Katharine Berkoff.[47] Masse said that the win was a tribute to her "50 progress over the last couple of years."[48] She missed the podium in the 200 m backstroke, finishing fifth, but won a bronze medal on the final day as part of the Canadian team in the 4×100 m medley relay.[49][50]

A month later, Masse was part of her second Commonwealth Games team. On her first day of competing, she finished first in both the heats and semi-finals of the 100 m backstroke.[51] Masse won the silver medal, 0.13 seconds behind Australian Kaylee McKeown.[52] The 200 m backstroke was viewed as another contest between Masse and McKeown, which Masse again taking the silver medal.[53] She said afterward that "I always know Kaylee is going to put down a great race and I tried to stick to my race plan and do the best I could."[54] Qualifying to the final of the 50 m backstroke, she set a Games record of 27.47 in the semi-final.[55] On the same day, she swam the backstroke leg for Canada in the mixed medley relay, winning another silver medal.[56] Beginning the final day of competition, Masse won gold in the 50 m backstroke final, lowering her previous day's Games record again to 27.31, exactly equal to her winning time in Budapest earlier in the season.[57] She then swam the backstroke leg of the 4×100 m medley relay, winning a final silver medal, her fifth medal of the Birmingham Games.[58]

Honours and awardsEdit

Personal bestsEdit

Long course (50-metre pool)Edit

Event Time[3] Venue Date Notes
50 m backstroke 27.18 2022 Canadian Worlds Swimming Trials, Canada 6 April 2022 NR
100 m backstroke 57.70 2020 Canadian Olympic Swimming Trials 19 June 2021 NR
200 m backstroke 2:05.42 Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Tokyo 31 July 2021 NR

Short course (25-metre pool)Edit

Event Time[3] Venue Date Notes
50 m backstroke 25.62 Abu Dhabi 17 December 2021
100 m backstroke 55.22 Abu Dhabi 15 December 2021 NR
200 m backstroke 2:01.45 Eindhoven, Netherlands 13 November 2021 NR

International Swimming League (25-metre pool)Edit

Event Time[3] Venue Date
50 m backstroke 26.19 Danube Arena 2 November 2020
100 m backstroke 56.06 Danube Arena 6 November 2020
200 m backstroke 2:01.76 Danube Arena 5 November 2020


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  34. ^ "ISL Match 3 Results" (PDF). ISL. October 25, 2020.
  35. ^ "ISL Match 6 Results" (PDF). ISL. November 2, 2020.
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  56. ^ Rieder, David (August 2, 2022). "Emma McKeon Anchors Australian Mixed Medley Relay to Gold; Record-Setting 19 Commonwealth Medals". Swimming World. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  57. ^ Kaufman, Sophie (August 3, 2022). "Kylie Masse rests her own 50 BK Commonwealth Games record, winning gold in 27.31". SwimSwam. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  58. ^ Rieder, David (August 3, 2022). "Australian Women Dominate 400 Medley Relay to Cap Off Dominant Week". Swimming World. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  59. ^ "24th Annual BLG Awards: Toronto's Masse, Calgary's Buckley named CIS athletes of the year". 2016-03-02. Retrieved 2021-07-12.
  60. ^ Braden Keith (2017-04-01). "KYLIE MASSE NAMED UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO ATHLETE OF THE YEAR". Retrieved 2021-07-12.
  61. ^ "February 2018 — Kylie Masse". 2018-04-02. Retrieved 2021-07-12.

External linksEdit

Preceded by Women's 100 metre backstroke
world record holder (long course)

25 July 2017 – 28 July 2018
Succeeded by