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CBC Sports' Scott Russell says U of T swimmer Kylie Masse is a proud product of Canadian universities

Backstroke world champion Kylie Masse is a proud product of the Canadian university system, says CBC's Scott Russell (photo by Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)

Canadian sports veteran Scott Russell writes that Kylie Masse's world record shows Canadian schools can still produce champions.

“Masse studies kinesiology full-time at the University of Toronto and is an award-winning athlete not only because of what she does in the pool with her collegiate squad, the Varsity Blues, but also because of her commitment to sportsmanship and the leadership qualities she possesses,” he writes at CBC Sports.

Russell goes on to talk about challenges with Canada's top high-performance athletes heading south of the border for at least part of their training because the U.S. collegiate sports scholarship system offers significant funding. A system like that does not exist in Canada, he says.

“But Masse is a clear indicator that Canadian university sport is still fertile ground for nurturing champions,” he adds.

Russell quotes Masse's coach Byron MacDonald, who heads up the U of T swimming team.

“She remained in Canada for university and made her giant strides on the world stage because of the swim program at the University of Toronto,” MacDonald states in the piece. “While receiving less glamour than their NCAA counterparts, the Canadian university swim program constantly produces top athletes.”

Coach Linda Kiefer adds that swimmers like Masse are “showing that you can combine full-time academics and swimming at this level.”

And Olympian Bruce Kidd, vice-president, principal of the University of Toronto Scarborough, believes Masse's win “fortifies the place of the student-athlete in Canadian university sport.”

“It's a tribute to her remarkable personal qualities, her coaches at U of T and the Canadian Sports Centre Ontario,” Kidd says in the article. “Kylie is just another one who proves that you can attend and benefit from an outstanding academic program in one of the best universities in the world, while pursuing your athletic dreams – all right here in Canada.”

Read more about Masse's record-breaking performance