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Canadian swimmer Pickrem wins 200 medley silver at world championships

Canada's Sydney Pickrem swam to a silver medal in the women's 200-metre medley Monday at the world aquatics championships. Pickrem competes in the Women's 200m Individual Medley Final at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hassan Ammar

DOHA, Qatar — Canada's Sydney Pickrem swam to a silver medal in the women's 200-metre medley Monday at the world aquatics championships.

Pickrem, who was born in Florida to parents from Halifax, finished with a personal best time of two minutes 8.56 seconds.

Kate Douglass of the United States (2:07.05) won gold and Yu Yiting of China (2:09.01) took bronze.

It’s the fifth career medal at the long-course world championships for Pickrem, a two-time Olympian, but her first since 2019.

"Someone was asking me today how many worlds I’ve been to and this is my sixth that I’ve qualified, but fifth that I’ve raced in,” said the 26-year-old, who has been open about her mental health struggles after withdrawing from last year’s world championships. "I feel really grateful for that. And long course I’ve never got higher than a bronze so to walk away with a silver feels pretty good."

Pickrem will swim the 200-metre breaststroke Thursday, giving her an opportunity to match her two individual medals from the Gwangju 2019 worlds.

"The progression is not linear," she said. "I was freaking out before today. So I just feel really grateful for my support system that’s been by my side. I'm so looking forward to watching for the next day or two then getting back on the blocks soon."

It's Canada's second swimming medal of the world championships after the 4x100 relay team picked up a bronze on Sunday.

Canada now has four medals overall in Doha, with Montreal's Jacqueline Simoneau winning a gold and silver in artistic swimming last week.

In Monday's semifinals, Calgary's Ingrid Wilm was the second-fastest qualifier in the women’s 100-m backstroke. 

The 25-year-old’s time of 59.55 seconds led her semifinal and was behind only American Claire Curzan (58.73).

"I was hoping for a faster time but for me, racing is always the highest form of training," Wilm said. "It’s good to know that I need to work on my power a little bit.

"I’m going to sleep, eat, sleep, eat and work on some technique tomorrow morning."

Sophie Angus swam a personal best 1:06.66 in her 100-metre breaststroke semifinal to advance to Tuesday’s final. 

The 24-year-old was seventh at the turn but rebounded to finish fourth in her heat and earn the eighth final spot by just .04 seconds. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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