June 19th, 2024

McIntosh, Oleksiak headline Olympic swim team named after conclusion of trials

By Abdulhamid Ibrahim, The Canadian Press on May 19, 2024.

Penny Oleksiak reacts after competing in the 100m freestyle at the Canadian Olympic Swim Trials in Toronto on Friday, May 17, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO – Canada’s Olympic swim team is as deep a group going to an Olympic Games as John Atkinson has been around to coach.

Summer McIntosh and Penny Oleksiak are among a number of stars who were named as Olympic swim team nominees going to Paris this summer. The announcement of both the Olympic and Paralympic teams came at the conclusion of the Olympic & Paralympic Trials that took place from Monday to Sunday at Toronto’s Pan Am Sports Centre.

“It’s certainly the deepest team that I’ve taken for Swimming Canada,” said Atkinson, the high performance director and national coach. “When you look at the depth over a number of events, there are multiple athletes who have done world-class performances here in Toronto this week, who can all look to go on and improve on that and be better when we come to the Games.

“We had six medals in Rio (2016) and six medals in Tokyo (2021) and we have more depth here. So we’re looking to at least get to that number and see where we’re at.”

McIntosh qualified for five individual events at the swim trials.

The 17-year-old Toronto native has a spot in the 400-metre freestyle, 200 freestyle, 400 individual medley – which she broke her own world record in on Thursday – 200 butterfly and the 200 medley, the last of which came Sunday.

McIntosh made her mark as a 14-year-old at the Tokyo Games, and is now an eight-time world championship medallist entering the Paris Olympics.

“I’m pretty happy to be able to qualify in some of my top five events,” McIntosh said. “Going to Paris, I’m super excited.

“I think it’s going to be an amazing meet, not just for me but all of Team Canada.”

Oleksiak, meanwhile, nears Olympic competition having gone through a few hurdles.

She has dealt with multiple injuries over the last couple of years, including a second knee surgery during that span that she told the CBC she had four months ago. Canada’s most decorated Olympian of all time with seven medals, Oleksiak won her lone gold in the 100 free in the 2016 Rio Games.

Oleksiak failed to hit the Olympic qualifying and consideration time in the 200 freestyle, finishing ninth on Tuesday. She won the 100 freestyle on Friday, getting under the consideration time but just going over the qualifying time, putting herself in position to compete for the 4×100 freestyle relay team.

The 23-year-old Toronto native followed that up with a win in the 50 freestyle on Sunday but didn’t get under the qualifying or consideration time for the event.

“The focus was just to see how good I could get my 50, I’m not a 50 freestyler,” Oleksiak said. “It’s just kind of practice for the front end of my 100. “¦ I still have until June 23 to hit that A cut to swim individually in the 100.

“So I’m just trying to make that stronger and hopefully I could get that A cut by June 23.”

Each country can enter a maximum of two athletes per individual event with the deadline to go under the qualifying time at an approved World Aquatics competition being June 23.

Oleksiak can compete in the women’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay in Paris, but there’s no guarantee she’ll race the individual 100 freestyle there.

“I’m just happy to be here, happy to be on the team and happy to get that time down,” Oleksiak said.

Maggie Mac Neil, the reigning Olympic champion in the women’s 100 butterfly, and Kylie Masse, four-time Olympic medallist and reigning silver medallist in the women’s 100 backstroke are also among the best heading to Paris.

Josh Liendo set the field on fire with a second straight Canadian record on Sunday.

The 21-year-old followed up his initial Canadian record time of 50.33 seconds in the preliminary round earlier in the day with a 50.06 second-showing in the evening final.

Ilya Kharun (51.09) of Montreal and Finlay Knox (51.42) of Okotoks, Alta., also went under the Olympic qualifying time of 51.67 seconds.

Knox, the reigning world champion in the 200 individual medley, broke his own record of 1:56.64 by stopping the clock at 1:56.07 in the event on Saturday.

It’s the third event Liendo – who earned silver at the 2023 world championships in the 100 butterfly – has qualified himself for the Paris Games. He did so on Saturday in the 50 freestyle and on Thursday in the 100 freestyle.

“Just a good trial, as they say, a good trial for the summer,” Liendo said. “I thought I handled it well and yeah, I’m just excited to, obviously enjoy this for a little bit but I’m excited to get back into work and try to see what I could do better in Paris.”

Paris 2024 Canadian Olympic Team

Javier Acevedo (Toronto)

Sophie Angus (Weston, U.S.)

Alex Axon (Newmarket, Ont.)

Jeremy Bagshaw (Victoria)

Julie Brousseau (Ottawa)

Brooklyn Douthwright (Riverview, N.B.)

Emma Finlin (Edmonton)

Mary-Sophie Harvey (Trois-Rivières, Que.)

Apollo Hess (Lethbridge, Alta.)

Patrick Hussey (Beaconsfield, Que.)

Tristan Jankovics (Puslinch, Ont.)

Ella Jansen (Burlington, Ont.)

Ilya Kharun (Montreal)

Yuri Kisil (Calgary)

Finlay Knox (Okotoks, Alta.)

Josh Liendo (Toronto)

Maggie Mac Neil (London, Ont.)

Kylie Masse (Lasalle, Ont.)

Summer McIntosh (Toronto)

Emma O’Croinin (Edmonton)

Penny Oleksiak (Toronto)

Sydney Pickrem (Halifax, N.S.)

Regan Rathwell (Ashton, Ont.)

Taylor Ruck (Kelowna, B.C.)

Rebecca Smith (Red Deer, Alta.)

Blake Tierney (Saskatoon)

Lorne Wigginton (Calgary)

Ingrid Wilm (Calgary)

Kelsey Wog (Winnipeg)

Paris 2024 Canadian Paralympic Team

Nicholas Bennett (Parksville, B.C.)

Katie Cosgriffe (Burlington, Ont.)

Danielle Dorris (Moncton, N.B.)

Sabrina Duchesne (Saint-Augustin, Que.)

Alec Elliot (Kitchener, Ont.)

Nikita Ens (Meadow Lake, Sask.)

Arianna Hunsicker (Surrey, B.C.)

Mary Jibb (Bracebridge, Ont.)

Fernando Lu (Burnaby, B.C.)

Sebastian Massabie (Surrey, B.C.)

Reid Maxwell (St. Albert, Alta.)

Shelby Newkirk (Saskatoon)

Aurelie Rivard (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.)

Tess Routliffe (Caledon, Ont.)

Katarina Roxon (Kippens, N.L.)

Abi Tripp (Kingston, Ont.)

Nicolas-Guy Turbide (Quebec City)

Philippe Vachon (Blainville, Que.)

Emma Grace Van Dyk (Port Colborne, Ont.)

Aly Van Wyck Smart (Toronto)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 19, 2024.

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