2021 Canadian Olympic Trials: Day 1 Finals Live Recap


Canada is officially joining the action tonight in one of swimming’s busiest few weeks of racing around the globe.

The 2021 Canadian Olympic Trials will follow a unique format this year in order to comply with COVID-19 protocols in place in Toronto, Ontario. Each day will feature 2 prelims session beginning at 9:30 am and 12:30 pm EST daily, followed by a single finals session that starts at 5:30 pm.

Day 1 finals will begin with the women’s and men’s 100 butterfly, headlined by Canadian record holders on both sides. 2019 World Championships gold medalist Maggie MacNeil is the top seed for the women and holds the NR at a 55.83 from 2019. On the men’s side, Josh Liendo blasted a new Canadian record of 51.40 during prelims to take out Santo Condorelli‘s 2016 mark of 51.83.

In the 100 backstroke, we will see another set of national record holders in the form of Kylie Masse and Markus Thormeyer who had the top times of the morning.

Masse has already been selected for the Olympic squad in the women’s 100 backstroke but Thormeyer will need to earn a top 2 finish as he has only qualified thus far in the 200 backstroke. Thormeyer will be joined by fellow backstroker Cole Pratt who was only a fraction of a second behind during the prelims.

The last 2 events of the night will be the women’s and men’s 400 freestyle timed finals. 2016 Olympian Emily Overholt will be hoping to make her return to the team here and will be joined by a number of close competitors including junior Emma O’Croinin, Alyson Ackman, and Marit Anderson.

On the men’s side, all entrants will be hoping to make their first-ever Olympic team. Top seed Jeremy Bagshaw will need to crack his own entry time of 3:50.96 in order to get under the 3:46.78 FINA A and will be joined by the likes of Peter Brothers (3:53.20), Nathan Beaudin-Bolduc (3:54.07), among others.

Women’s 100 Butterfly – Final

  • Canadian Record: 55.83 – Maggie MacNeil (2019)
  • FINA A Standard: 57.92


  1. Maggie MacNeil – 56.19 Q
  2. Katerine Savard – 57.86 Q
  3. Rebecca Smith – 57.93

Maggie MacNeil didn’t need to win this race in order to make it to Tokyo, having been pre-selected by Swimming Canada based on her World Championships gold medal performance in 2019.

Despite that, MacNeil was here in the A final and delivered a 56.19 to take the gold medal which is a little bit over her 2019 winning time of 55.83 as well as her season-best of 56.14 from last month.

2 time Olympian for Canada Katerine Savard made her comeback to the sport complete here with a 57.86 to get under the FINA A cut of 57.92 and has likely qualified for her 3rd Olympic team. Savard has PB of 57.27 which she swam back in 2014.

Since her retirement from the sport after the 2016 Games and subsequent comeback, Savard has said that she’s been focussing on the freestyle events but that didn’t stop her from having a solid butterfly performance here.

Rebecca Smith came in with a 57.93 for third place which was just over the FINA A. That’s a little slower than her 2019 PB in the event of 57.59 which she swam at the World Championships 2 years ago. Smith has another few races to go this week and will be hoping to qualify for the Games in the freestyle events.

Men’s 100 Butterfly – Final

  • Canadian Record: 51.40 – Josh Liendo (2021)
  • FINA A Standard: 51.96


  1. Josh Liendo – 51.72 Q
  2. Finlay Knox – 52.65
  3. Keir Ogilvie – 53.28

After lowering the Canadian 100 butterfly record by nearly half a second to a 51.40 during the prelims, Josh Liendo returned tonight to win the national title in 51.72. While he was just a bit slower than his morning swim, he managed to get under the FINA A standard of 51.96.

That means that 18-year-old Liendo has officially qualified to swim at his first-ever Olympic Games. Liendo has represented Canada on the international stage forever, having won silver in the 100 freestyle with a 49.17 at the 2019 World Junior Championships.

Notably, Liendo formerly swam under Murray Drudge who died suddenly in February of 2020 and made the transition to the High-Performance Center, Ontario.

Liendo was the only man under the FINA A cut in the heat as 200 IM national record-holder Finlay Knox followed with a 52.65 for the silver medal. That was the first time Knox has been under 53 in the event, improving upon his 53.16 PB from the prelims.

Keir Ogilvie came in third for the bronze medal and also set his second PB of the day with a 53.28 to improve upon his 53.73 in the morning.

2016 Olympian Mack Darragh placed 4th with a 53.68, trailing his 53.18 PB from 2018. Darragh is known better as a 200 butterflier and will be contesting that event later in the meet.

Women’s 100 Backstroke – Final

  • Canadian Record: 58.10 – Kylie Masse (2017)
  • FINA A Standard: 1:00.25


  1. Kylie Masse – 57.70 Q
  2. Taylor Ruck – 59.60 Q
  3. Ingrid Wilm 1:00.19 A

Similar to Maggie MacNeil in the 100 fly, Kylie Masse had already qualified to swim the 100 back in Tokyo but came into the final and posted a new Canadian record of 57.70.

That swim was 0.40 seconds quicker than her former NR of 58.10 which she set back in 2017 and was a world record at the time. The current world record in the event sits at a 57.45 which Australian Kaylee McKeown swam last week at the Australian Olympic Trials. That also makes Masse the second-fastest woman in the world this season.

Masse is now the 3rd fastest swimmer ever, trailing McKeown and former world record holder Regan Smith who posted a 57.57 at the 2019 World Championships.

Joining Masse in Tokyo will be Taylor Ruck who swam a 59.60 for silver which is a bit above her best time in the event of 58.55 from 2019. Her finals time was nearly a second faster than her prelims swim in the event of 1:00.49. Ruck is also qualified to race the 100 freestyle in Tokyo.

Ingrid Wilm was also under the FINA A with a bronze medal swim of 1:00.19 but won’t be on the Olympic team due to the 2-person limit. Mary-Sophie Harvey rounded out the top 4 with a 1:00.67 while Danielle Hanus was a 1:01.39 for 5th.

Men’s 100 Backstroke – Final


  1. Markus Thormeyer – 53.40 Q
  2. Cole Pratt – 53.54 Q
  3. Javier Acevedo – 54.59

Markus Thormeyer has added a second event to his Olympic lineup with a national title in the 100 backstroke of 53.40. That’s under the FINA A cut of 53.85 and only 0.05 seconds off his Canadian record of 53.35 from back in 2019.

The 2016 Olympian had already been selected for his second Olympic team in the 200 backstroke and will now race the 100 as well.

Cole Pratt touched right behind Thormeyer here with a 53.54 to also get under the FINA A cut and likely add his name to the Canadian Olympic roster.

This will be Pratt’s first-ever Olympic team, having previously raced for Canada at the 2019 World Championships. There he raced to a 26th place finish in the 200 back (2:00.45) and a 26th place finish in the 200 IM (2:04.26).

2016 Olympian for Canada in the 100 backstroke Javier Acevedo was shut out of the top 2 here, hitting a 54.49 to take bronze. That’s well over his 53.64 PB from back in 2017. Acevedo raced to victory in this event at 2016 Olympic Trials and went on to place 17th overall with a 54.11.

Women’s 400 Freestyle – Final

  • Canadian Record: 4:03.43 – Brittany MacLean (2016)
  • FINA A Standard: 4:07.90


  1. Alyson Ackman – 4:10.92
  2. Emily Overholt – 4:11.91
  3. Emma O’Croinin – 4:12.10

Alyson Ackman won the gold medal in the women’s 400 freestyle with a 4:10.92 which was a bit slower than the 4:07.90 that she needed to get consideration for the Olympic squad.

Ackman has been a national teamer for Canada since back in 2014 when she swam at the Pan Pacific Championships. She retired from the sport in 2016, made a comeback in January 2019, and shortly after, represented Canada at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima.

With no one under the FINA A standard, 14-year-old Summer McIntosh looks like the favorite to get the nod in the event for Canada this summer. According to the selection criteria, McIntosh is able to be selected for the team based on her recent result of 4:05.13 in May 2021.

Her goal was to qualify for the Olympic Games but said in a post-race interview that she was happy with the national title.

2016 Olympian Emily Overholt managed to come in with a 4:11.91 for second place, also trailing the FINA A standard. Overholt swam to a 25th place finish in the event with a 4:16.24. Overholt’s PB in the event sits at a 4:06.27 from February 2019 which is under the FINA A.

Emma O’Croinin was close behind Overholt and touched 0.19 seconds later for 3rd place overall with a 4:12.10 which is 4 seconds off her PB in the event of 4:08.11.

Men’s 400 Freestyle – Final

  • Canadian Record: 3:43.36 – Ryan Cochrane (2011)
  • FINA A Standard: 3:46.78


  1. Peter Brothers – 3:49.35
  2. Jeremy Bagshaw – 3:50.10
  3. Alex Axon – 3:53.66

As was the case in the women’s event, no one got under the FINA A in the men’s 400 freestyle. Peter Brothers won the heat with a 3:49.35 to shave nearly 2 seconds off his entry time of 3:51.26 but still over the FINA A cut of 3:46.78.

Brothers remarked that he would have liked to be a bit faster but that he was happy with the race.

Jeremy Bagshaw was less than a second slower than Brothers with a 3:50.10 which is a little bit slower than the 3:48.82 that he swam at the 2017 World Swimming Championships.

Rounding out the podium, Alex Axon delivered 3:53.66 to get under his PB of 3:54.23 and Eric Brown came in right after with a 3:53.98. That swim for Brown was well under his prior PB of 4:00.82.

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3 months ago

McNeill 56.19 for the win

3 months ago

What a return to form for Katerine Savard – Nice to see.

Bill G
Reply to  Dee
3 months ago

FINA-A standard met. I now have to see the Nadia, Butterfly movie … about a Canadian butterflier at the Tokyo Olympics … that Savard stars in.

Reply to  Bill G
3 months ago

It’s a well done film; there’s none of the WTF technique you usually experience in movies with any swimming content because the director was a competitive swimmer, and Savard is a surprisingly good actress. She was asked for input on the screenplay and auditioned and got the role. It was selected for Cannes last year, but unfortunately Covid prevented it from being screened there.

3 months ago

Great swim by Savard, had no idea she was taking another shot.

Smith seemed to overswim that first 50; 26.6-31.3 isn’t a very strong tactical race.

3 months ago

Thrilled for Savard! I remember being shocked in 2016 when she ended up third.

Bill G
Reply to  TheJudga
3 months ago

That was the Oleksiak coming out swim at the 2016 trials. Thomas and Savard were both in the 2015 worlds final in the 100m fly.

Reply to  Bill G
3 months ago

Yes. I wasn’t surprised Penny won. But I was surprised Noemie Thomas beat Savard.

3 months ago

Streaming freezing for others?

Reply to  Troyy
3 months ago

Yes, a bit.

Reply to  Troyy
3 months ago

It’s been lagging on/off for me so far on Youtube and on the CBC site

Reply to  ALDASP
3 months ago

Which channel is showing it on YouTube?

Reply to  Troyy
3 months ago

Yep, first 50 of that men’s 50fly was awful to watch.

3 months ago

Crazy echo with the PA

3 months ago

Brilliant by Liendo. It’s nice to finally have a great 100fly swimmer on the men’s side, and he could be around for a long time.

3 months ago

Masse 57.70!! So nice to see that after she’s been 58 low so many times. Not out of contention for gold yet.