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Team Canada stand on the podium after winning the bronze medal in the Women's 4x100m Medley Relay final at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)Hassan Ammar/The Associated Press

Canada’s women’s 4x100-metre medley relay team earned bronze on Sunday in the final event of the World Aquatics Championships.

The team of Ingrid Wilm, Sophie Angus, Rebecca Smith and Taylor Ruck combined for a time of 3 minutes 56.43 seconds to finish third in the event for the fourth straight world championships.

“I think we all really did our best on this last race here and I’m so proud of all these girls,” Smith said.

“It’s so much fun,” Angus added. “These relays are my favourite part of these meets and to do it with all these girls, it was a really good way to finish off the week.”

Sydney Pickrem and Katerine Savard, who swam the morning heat to help qualify with the fastest time, also received medals.

Pickrem’s morning split of 1:06.10 was Canada’s second-fastest ever, surpassing Annamay Pierse’s time of 1:06.10 in 2009.

Canada collected seven medals (one gold, one silver, five bronze) at the eight-day championships held at the Aspire Dome in Doha, Qatar, one more than last year’s total from Fukuoka, Japan.

“The Doha world championships provided a great racing opportunity for the swimmers,” said high performance director and national coach John Atkinson. “The plan was always to come here, race, compete through the championships and improve day by day.

“We saw how the team performed at the beginning of the meet and that continued right through the last day with swimmers racing best times to conclude the relays.”

Wilm and Pickrem leave Doha with a team-high three medals.

With two each, Smith and Ruck now have eight all time, moving into a tie for third among Canadians with Ryan Cochrane, Maggie Mac Neil and Summer McIntosh. Only Penny Oleksiak and Kylie Masse, with nine each, have more. With seven career medals, Pickrem, sits eighth all-time.

“Coming away with seven medals, nine medallists, I think is a fantastic testament to the athletes, but also how well the coaching staff work with them and our support staff,” Atkinson said. “We keep doing what we need to do day by day and that’s an excellent situation to be in.”

The men’s medley finished just outside the medals in fourth. The team of Blake Tierney, James Dergousoff, Finlay Knox and Javier Acevedo turned in a time of 3:32.89. Tierney led off in 53.65, his second personal best of the day.

All seven of Canada’s relays sit within the top 16 times combined between these championships and Fukuoka 2023, which puts them in position to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“We had a strategy in Fukuoka at the last world championships to race in all our Olympic relays and we also competed in them here,” Atkinson said. “As we finish the world championships here we have all seven of our Olympic relays ranked in positions that will receive quota spots from World Aquatics when confirmed.”

Ruck, who was part of women’s 4x100 free relay bronze on Day 1, showcased her return to form earlier in the session, finishing fifth in her first world 50-metre free final. The 23-year-old from Kelowna, B.C., posted a time of 24.50 from Lane 8 which was her fastest in nearly six years.

Meanwhile, Calgary’s Lorne Wigginton finished seventh in the men’s 400 IM with a time of 4:14.98. It’s the first world final for the 18-year-old, who swims at the High Performance Centre – Ontario and was recently named Swimming Canada’s junior male swimmer of the year.

On the women’s side, Tessa Cieplucha also turned in a seventh-place finish in her 400 IM final.

Canadian athletes now turn their focus to the Olympic & Paralympic Trials set for May 13-19 at the Olympic Pool in Montreal.

“The next step from here is everybody to go back, evaluate where they’re at and get ready for the Olympic Trials. Then it’s full steam to Paris,” Atkinson said.

More than 2,600 athletes representing 201 countries and the World Aquatics Refugee Team are in Doha to compete in 75 medal events across six aquatic sports.

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