2017 Swammy Awards: Female Breakout Swimmer of the Year Kylie Masse

To see all of our 2017 Swammy Awards presented by TYR, click here. 


Canadian backstroke star Kylie Masse has made huge strides over the past couple of seasons, but 2017 saw her make a major breakthrough. After establishing herself as a top contender with an Olympic medal in 2016, Masse began to tow the World Record line in 2017. In April, she posted a blistering 58.21 to set a new Canadian Record and the 3rd fastest performance of all time in the event. She was just hundredths shy of the World Record, which stood at a 58.12 at the time, and would only get faster from there.

At the 2017 FINA World Championships, Masse stepped up to take another swing at the record. She came extremely close with a 58.18 in the semifinals. In the final, she finally hit the mark to win gold in 58.10, taking down the longest standing women’s World Record. With that, she became the first Canadian female to win a World Championships gold medal. She also became the first Canadian to win a Worlds gold in any discipline since Brent Hayden tied for 100 free gold in 2007.

That wasn’t Masse’s only record-breaking swim of the meet, however, as she broke the Canadian 200 back record with a 2:05.97 in the semis before going on to place 5th in the final. She clipped her own Canadian Record in the 50 back semifinals to place 10th. Masse picked up a bronze medal as a member of Canada’s mixed 4×100 medley relay.


  • Mallory Comerford (USA)- 2017 saw Comerford’s big breakthrough in the long course pool and continued improvements in the short course pool. During the NCAA season, Comerford turned heads when she ran down Ledecky in the 200 free to tie for the national collegiate (NCAA) title, becoming the 2nd fastest swimmer ever in the event. She also became the 7th fastest swimmer ever in the 100 yard free. During the long course season, she qualified for her first World Championships team, breaking the American Record in the 100 free (though it was later broken again by Manuel) as she lead off the American women’s 400 free relay that broke the American Record. She won gold in that relay, the women’s 800 free relay, and the mixed 400 free relay. Individually, she placed 4th in the 100 free and missed the Worlds podium by hundredths.

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Comerford is going to be super good in the next few years. She’s also very good at 100 fly as well!


Hopefully Taylor Ruck makes a case for this award next year


Masse was an Olympic medallist in 2016 – Not sure 2017 was really her breakout. Comerford perhaps a bigger 2017 breakout… A mention to Li Bingjie too, she came from nothing to 3 world medals and as close to Ledecky as we’ve seen anyone basically ever.

Dee – we had that same discussion editorially – that’s always what’s hard on these breakouts. Who had the better year, vs. who had the better breakout. You’ll notice a similar conversation on the men’s award.

What we decided on Masse was that going from bronze in Rio all the way up to a World Record in Budapest, not to mention a World Record that was 8 years old, super-suited, and wasn’t broken by the likes of superstars like Missy Franklin or Emily Seebohm, was enough to warrant the honor. If she just went from bronze to gold, we probably would’ve given it to Comerford.


That’s fair – Thanks for the explanation!

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She is now coaching for Loggerhead Aquatics in her hometown …

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