Finlay Knox gives two thumbs up while in the poolAP Photo/Hassan Ammar
AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

Finlay Knox crowned world champion in the 200m IM; Wilm wins second backstroke bronze

Canada has a new world champion in swimming. Finlay Knox came from behind to win gold in the men’s 200m individual medley at the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar.

That was one of two medals won by Canadian swimmers in the pool on Thursday. Knox followed Ingrid Wilm onto the podium after she won bronze in the women’s 50m backstroke, her second medal of the week.

After qualifying for the final with sixth-fastest semifinal swim, Knox was a little out of sight in lane seven, with most attention focused on the pair of Americans in middle of the pool as they battled back and forth for the lead. But from the opening butterfly leg, Knox was right in the podium mix, making the first turn in second place.

Knox dropped back to third place through the backstroke and breaststroke legs, which he admitted afterwards have historically been more of a struggle for him. But he flew through the final 50 metres of freestyle in 27.79 seconds, clocking a Canadian record time of 1:56.64.

That gave him the victory by 0.33 over American Carson Foster, who had been the leader heading into the home stretch. Italy’s Alberto Razzetti took the bronze in 1:57.42.

This is the first time a Canadian has gone below 1:57 in the event, as Knox’s previous national record set at the 2023 Canadian Trials was 1:57.26.

Finlay Knox holds up his gold medal while wearing a track suit jacket
Finlay Knox with his gold medal won in the men’s 200m IM at the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar (Swimming Canada/Ian MacNicol)

The gold is Knox’s first career medal at the long course world championships. He made his World Aquatics Championships debut in 2022 after competing in his first Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020. Now 23, Knox won bronze in both the 100m IM and 200m IM events at the short course (25m) world championships in December 2022. This past fall, he won 200m IM gold at the Pan Am Games in Santiago. That came after he missed making the final of the 200m IM at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships where he finished 13th.

Wilm followed up her first individual medal at the long course worlds with another third-place finish, this time in the 50m backstroke, which is not part of the Olympic program. Her time of 27.62 seconds put her on the podium behind American Claire Curzan (27.43) and Australian Iona Anderson (27.45). They stood in the same spots they had in the 100m backstroke on Tuesday.

Also on Thursday, Sydney Pickrem recorded the third-fastest time in the women’s 200m breastroke semifinals, giving her the opportunity to win a second medal in Doha on Friday. She already won silver in the 200m IM on Monday.

Another big thing to watch on Friday will be Canada and Italy facing off for the final Olympic qualification spot in women’s water polo. That game goes at 2:00 a.m. ET. The swimming competition continues in Doha through Sunday.