Canadian teenage swimmer Taylor Ruck on a roll at Commonwealth Games - InfoNews

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Canadian teenage swimmer Taylor Ruck on a roll at Commonwealth Games

Canada's women's 4 x 200 freestyle relay team, left to right, Penny Oleksiak, Taylor Ruck, Rebecca Smith, and Kayla Sanchez stand with their medals at the Aquatic Centre during the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, Saturday, April 7, 2018. Australia won gold, Canada won silver and England took bronze. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
April 07, 2018 - 6:33 AM

GOLD COAST, Australia - Teenager Taylor Ruck won three more medals in the Commonwealth Games pool Saturday to up her total to five while fellow Canadian Kylie Masse proved she still rules the 100-metre backstroke.

Canada picked up another silver on the night, courtesy of Paralympic star Aurelie Rivard in the women's SM10 200-metre individual medley.

John Hutchinson, Swimming Canada's high-performance director, had predicted this would be Ruck's breakout meet. The 17-year-old from Kelowna, B.C., who won two relay bronze medals at the Rio Olympics, has not disappointed.

"An astonishing talent," said Hutchinson.

With five medals in five events here (one gold, three silver and a bronze), Ruck is on track to make history. She still has the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle and likely the individual medley relay to go.

Canadian Elaine Tanner won seven medals (four gold and three silver) at the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica. Australians Susie O'Neill (1998 in Kuala Lumpur) and Emily Seebohm (2010 in New Delhi) both won eight medals.

Nine of Canada's 18 medals over the first three days of competition have come in the pool.

Ruck tied for silver in the 50-metre freestyle before earning bronze in the backstroke behind Masse, the world record-holder in the event. Ruck capped her evening with a silver behind Australia in the 4x200 relay with Penny Oleksiak, Kayla Sanchez and Rebecca Smith, who won gold as a foursome at the world junior championships last summer.

Ruck's individual silver and bronze Saturday came less than 30 minutes apart. Both were personal best times.

On Thursday, Ruck won gold in the 200 freestyle and silver in the 4x100 freestyle relay with Oleksiak, Sanchez and Alexia Zevnik.

It's a welcome sight for Hutchinson, who is developing his young talent for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Masse (pronounced Moss) won the backstroke in 58.63 seconds, nipping Seebohm by three one-hundredths of a second. The Australian had led by the same amount after 50 metres. Ruck was third in 58.97.

Masse, who won Olympic bronze in Rio in 58.76, lowered the games record in the heat, semifinal and final — from 58.70 to 58.66 and then 58.63. Seebohm, the two-time defending champion, had lowered her own games record to 58.91 in the morning heat before Masse.

"Honestly I couldn't really see how close it was," the 22-year-old from Windsor, Ont., said of Saturday's tight finish. "But I knew Emily was going to be right there with me the whole way and I knew it was going to come down to the finish. But I tried to just kind of focus in and hammer those last few strokes and try and get my hand on the wall first."

Asked what went through her mind when she saw she had won, she answered: "Relief, happiness."

"Just coming into another big meet with kind of a target on your back is something relatively new to me," she said. "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."

Masse became the woman to beat last year at the world championships in Budapest where set the world record of 58.10 and became Canada's first ever female world swim champion. England's Gemma Spofforth's world record of 58.12 had stood since 2009, making it the oldest women's record on the books.

Masse admitted to a few nerves coming into Saturday's race, calling the 100 backstroke "her baby from last summer."

She likely will have three more races here.

Ruck clocked 24.26 seconds in the 50 free to tie Australian Bronte Campbell for second behind Australian Cate Campbell, who won in a games record of 23.78. It was a personal best for Ruck by 0.77 seconds, erasing the Canadian record of 24.39 held by Chantal Vanlandeghem.

Ruck's 100 backstroke produced another personal best, erasing her previous mark of 59.13.

"Taylor's having a fantastic meet so far and she still has a lot to swim," said Masse, who will also be swimming in the 50 and 200 backstroke here.

Ruck anchored the Canadian relay team, which got a storming third leg of 1:57.19 from Smith. But Ruck could not reel in fellow 17-year-old Australian Ariarne Titmus, whom she beat at the wall in the 200 freestyle two days earlier.

Canada also has a silver in the S7 (para) 50-metre butterfly (Sarah Mehain) and bronze in the men's 100 backstroke (Markus Thormeyer).

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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