2016 Swammy Awards Video: Canadian Female Swimmer of the Year

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2016 was a breakout year for Canada’s Penny Oleksiak. She had previously had success representing Canada internationally at the junior level, but she quickly broke onto the senior level scene at the 2016 Rio Olympics. It all started at the Canadian Olympic Trials, where Oleksiak, at just 15 years old, qualified to represent Canada in the 100 fly, 100 free, 4×100 free relay, 4×100 medleyr relay, and 4×200 free relay.

Shortly after turning 16, she started the meet as a part of Canada’s 4×100 free relay, anchoring the team to Olympic bronze. This was the first of many medals for Oleksiak, who left Rio with 4 new pieces of hardware. It wasn’t her last relay medal either, as she also took bronze as a part of Canada’s national record setting 4×200 free relay.

On night 2, she won her first individual Olympic medal, finishing 2nd in the 100 fly behind only World Record holder Sarah Sjostrom. Her time in the final also set a new Junior World Record. Her next inidividual medal was even more special, though, as she tied Team USA’s Simone Manuel for Olympic gold in another Junior World Record time.

Oleksiak’s gold was the first Olympic gold for Canada since Mark Tewksbury’s win in 1992, and it was the first gold for a Canadian female swimmer since Anne Ottenbrite won the 200 breast at the 1984 Olympics. At the conclusion of the meet, Oleksiak left Rio as the most decorated Canadian athlete at any summer Olympics.

Kylie Masse (Photo: Dan Janisse/Windsor Star)


In the 1oo back final at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Masse charged to a bronze medal in a tie with China’s Fu Yuanhui. In doing so, she set a new Canadian National Record. It didn’t stand for long, however, as she managed to break it again days later on the leadoff leg of Canada’s 4×100 medley relay. During the short course portion of 2016, Masse represented Canada at the Short Course World Championships in Windsor. There, she set new Canadian Records in both the 50 back and 100 back in the semifinal rounds, breaking her own previous record set in February 2016. In the 100 back, she went on to take 2nd place in the final. Masse was also a part of Canada’s 4×100 medley relay that set a new Canadian Record on the way to silver.

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Coach Mike 1952
4 years ago

You go girl!

bobo gigi
4 years ago

Amazing year for Canadian girls. And I think the best is yet to come. They’re gonna be very tough to beat in the 4X200 free relay at next world championships.

Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

It is too early to make such prediction. Short course times is not a reliable predictor. We haven’t seen these girls in long pool for almost five months already and have no hints about their sprint endurance in 50m pool where they have to do 30% more strokes. It is a very tricky distance. It takes time to learn how to swim/race it. Very few swimmers were consistently good at it. By far Oleksiak is 1:55 mid-high and Ruck – 1:56 mid-low. Canadian team needs at least one more swimmer of such caliber to offset Ledecky’s huge domination at this distance.

Kevin B
Reply to  Prickle
4 years ago

Canada just had another 16 year old go high 1:52 SC this weekend. They are def going to be medal contenders in 4X200 in Rio.

Reply to  Kevin B
4 years ago

They’ve already won a medal in Rio and are strong medal contender for the podium in Budapest. However I would be cautious to predict the gold medal for them. If to use Taylor Ruck’s scale to measure difference between SCM and LCM times then the girl you mentioned is most likely 1:57 – 1:58 swimmer in long pool.
Look what Chinese girls showed this season:
1:55.25 – 1:55.84 – 1:56.46 – 1:57.06. That was the strongest team to beat on paper. It hadn’t happened in Rio.
When you mentioned the age as major factor of possible progress then it can go either way. Ye Shiwen, Ruta Meilutyte, Missy Franklin are the most favorite recent examples of the… Read more »

Reply to  Prickle
4 years ago

I like the double standard that people use on this site, if it’s a good SCM performance, we must be wary and cautious about how this could translate to LCM, but if it’s a good SCY performance, we can be sure that this person is going to get a medal at a major international competition in the summer.

Reply to  Splash
4 years ago

@splash. There were no double standards. That discussion started in response to the bobo gigi’s comment who based on great performance of Canadian swimmers at “B” level meet started to make ungrounded (in my opinion) projections of the outcome of WC in Budapest.
Personally, I like Penny Oleksiak very much because there is a hope that she will be as much successful as one of the greatest swimmer of this generation – Sarah Sjostrom and because she has some Ukrainian blood in her veins (at least her last name suggests this 🙂 )
Let her focus on sprint at fly and free disciplines and leave 200 free to Katie Ledecky. This crown has already been taken. Very firmly.… Read more »

Jim C
Reply to  Splash
4 years ago

The Canadians will easily beat the US in the 4×200 relay as long as Mallory Comerford is the fastest swimmer on the US relay.

Reply to  Prickle
4 years ago

Prickle, you do realize that Oleksiak already split a 1:54 LCM last year, correct? Did you also know that she’s comes back faster than everyone else (….yes, even in LCM too!)?

Reply to  Swimmer
4 years ago

Sure she is awesome. But be more accurate with numbers. Her split at 200 relay was 1:54.94 with RT = 0.15. That will suggest that in August she would be 1:55 mid-high at individual race.
Also her last 100 was 59.99. It is definitely not the fastest one. She is very good on the way home at 100m distance. 200 is a little bit too much for her now. Will she learn how race this distance? No doubts. Will she focus on it? I’m not sure.

samuel huntington
4 years ago

Penny is crazy talented

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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