Road To The Olympic Games


Teenage star Oleksiak mows down records at Olympic swimming trials

Teen sensation Penny Oleksiak demolished both a national and world junior record en route to earning a third swim at the Rio Olympics this summer. It caps an impressive week for the Toronto swimmer at the Canadian Olympic trials in Toronto.

Canadians strong in women's 100-metre freestyle

Teen sensation Penny Oleksiak demolished both a national and world junior record en route to earning a third swim in Rio this summer.

The 15-year-old Torontonian claimed the women's 100-metre freestyle gold in 53.31 seconds during Saturday's trials for Canada's Olympic swim team.

Oleksiak erased the previous Canadian mark of 53.83 set in the same pool by Chantal Van Landeghem at the 2015 Pan Am Games. Oleksiak also beat the previous world junior record of 53.84 held by China's Shen Duo.

"Being able to get the world junior record means quite a bit to me," Oleksiak said.

The six-foot-one Oleksiak and the six-foot-three Van Landeghem duelled in adjoining lanes at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. Winnipeg's Van Landeghem touched in 53.91 to put both women well under the time needed to qualify.

A top-two result combined with a time under an Olympic qualifying standard in a final is required to make the Olympic squad.

Olympic team announcement on Sunday 

With one day of racing to go, 17 women and seven men have booked a berth to Brazil. The 2016 Olympic and Paralympic teams will be officially named after Sunday's finals.

Oleksiak, whose brother Jamie is a six-foot-eight Dallas Stars defenceman, also won the 100 butterfly and finished second in the 200 freestyle to fill her swim card for the Summer Games.

Van Landeghem, 22, didn't regret seeing her national record fall.

"Honestly not at all," she said. "Penny has been lighting it up this week. She destroyed it. It wasn't even close. She's such a great closer, so my goal going in was just to hang on as long as I could beside her."

Sandrine Manville of Boucherville, Que., and Toronto's Michelle Williams placed third and fourth in the 100 freestyle respectively to earn relay spots.

Brittany MacLean just misses 800 record

Toronto's Brittany MacLean will swim three individual races plus a relay in Rio. After setting Canadian records in the 200 and 400 freestyle, MacLean was just shy of her own record in the 800 on Saturday.

Her time of 8:21.40 was, however, the third-fastest in the world this year.

"Once you've raced a lot at a meet like this and it's so emotionally draining, you never really know what the last race is going to be like," MacLean said. "I wanted to post a really fast time and wanted it to rank me well in the world."

Kierra Smith of Kelowna, B.C., and Toronto's Martha McCabe will represent Canada in the women's 200 breaststroke after placing first and second respectively. Smith also won the 100 breaststroke  earlier in the week.

McCabe placed fifth at the 2012 Summer Games in London, but didn't make the semifinals at last year's world championship.

"I'm near the end of my career, so if I don't make this team, it could be the end," McCabe said. "It was just so much work for me mentally to just fight and stay on it and go for it even when things weren't going so well."

Condorelli DQ'd

It was a tough night for the men as none qualified out of the 100 butterfly or the 200 backstroke.

Santo Condorelli of Kelowna, B.C., the only male to post a qualifying time Saturday, was disqualified in the morning butterfly heats for not touching the wall simultaneously with both hands.

Para-swimming records fall

The Paralympic qualification process is different, but the swimmers will know by Sunday whether they'll be packing their bags for Brazil this summer. Swimmers in various para-swimming classifications race together.

Riley McLean of Burnaby, B.C., set a Canadian record in the S4 50-metre backstroke with a time of 57.88. Danial Murphy of Bedford, N.S., went 52.86 second to post a national record in the S5 classification.

Nicolas Turbide of Quebec City lowered the national record in the S13 100 backstroke to 1:00.31. Danielle Kisser of Delta, B.C., lowered her own record in the S6 100 backstroke by almost five-tenths of a second in the morning heats to 1:48.38.

Sponsored Content


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.