BUDAPEST, Hungary — Sydney Pickrem put herself in medal contention at the FINA world championships on Sunday by breaking her own Canadian record in the 200-metre individual medley semifinal.
Pickrem of Clearwater, B.C., clocked a time of two minutes 9.17 seconds which puts her in third position for Monday's final.
"A best time is a best time, you can't be upset with that," Pickrem said. "The plan is to descend my 200s. We're in the right direction so hopefully I keep getting better tomorrow night."
World record holder Katinka Hosszu of Hungary took the top spot at 2:07.14 while Melanie Margalis of the U.S., is second after finishing in 2:08.70. Ottawa's Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson was 11th.
Toronto's Penny Oleksiak advanced to Monday's 100-metre butterfly final after clocking a time of 57.07 seconds in the semis — good for fifth. The 17-year-old is the Olympic silver medallist and world junior record holder in the event.
Canada just missed a medal on Day 1 as the women's 4x100 freestyle relay came fourth in 3:33.94. The team of Sandrine Mainville, Chantal Van Landeghem, Kayla Sanchez and Oleksiak had claimed bronze in the event during the 2016 Rio Olympics.
"We all raced our hearts out," Van Landeghem said. "I think last summer raised our expectations a bit. We wanted to be on the podium but I'm proud of the girls. We're all right around our best splits ever and it's only Day 1 so there's still lots of racing to do. I think everyone's excited to keep going."
The men's team of Yuri Kisil, Markus Thormeyer, Javier Acevedo, Carson Olafson finished sixth.
In other semifinal action, Edmonton's Richard Funk came 15th in men's 100 breaststroke.
Meanwhile, Canada fell 10-6 to France in the first classification match of water polo action. The Canadians play their final match on Tuesday against South Africa for 15th spot. Canada's women's team faces Hungary in quarter-final play on Monday.
The world championships run through Sunday.