Coach Titley Discusses Penny Oleksiak’s Freestyle Focus Heading In Tokyo

2021 CANADIAN OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS

On the eve of the 2021 Canadian Olympic Swimming Trials, High Performance Centre – Ontario head coach Ben Titley spoke with media at a Swimming Canada press conference. Titley has been coaching a number of Canada’s top swimmers over the past few years including Olympic champion Penny Oleksiak, Olympians Yuri Kisil, Taylor Ruck, Mack Darragh, and Sydney Pickrem, along with Kayla Sanchez, Rebecca Smith, Finlay Knox, Jade Hannah, and Josh Liendo.

Titley discussed Canada’s star sprinter Penny Oleksiak who won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics as well silver in the 100 butterfly. In the 5 years since Rio Oleksiak’s focus has been directed mostly towards the freestyle events, the result of which being her early nomination to the team in the 200 freestyle.

Titley remarked that Penny Oleksiak is a different racer than she was back in 2016 and that without as many opportunities to race in the lead-up to this summer, it made sense for Oleksiak to stick to what she knows best, which Titley says is freestyle. Additionally, he notes that Oleksiak has been dealing with a slight back injury over the past year which has kept her from doing much butterfly in practice.

He went on to say that the Olympic champ’s freestyle has been going very nicely and that she’s been “looking good and seeming happy” in training. He expects that she will be in good form once they get to Tokyo and that even without the 100 fly, Oleksiak could be looking at up to 6 events. At the maximum, those events could include the 100 and 200 freestyle along with both the mixed and women’s 4×100 medley relay, and the women’s 4×100 and 4×200 freestyles.

Titley explained that the Olympic Games are a “war of attrition” and they know that it’s important to plan one’s program carefully so as to not overload and exhaust. That’s even more true, he added, when you haven’t had any high-level long course racing opportunities in more than a year which is the case for most Olympic hopefuls in Canada.

Aside from discussing Oleksiak’s second Olympic conquest, Titley spoke about what it’s like to have both the United States and Australian Olympic Trials occurring in such close proximity to the Canadian version.

“It gives the athletes that little bit of interest, that little bit of motivation to get up and get competing. We understand that the situations are different, we understand that the US are competing in front of I don’t know how many thousand people, we understand that Australia’s restrictions with regards to COVID stuff are completely different to ours” said Titley. “So it’s not apples to apples, but the fact of seeing their competition and times is, I think, very motivating.

“And as we say to them, and this is my philosophy in general, Trials are just a stepping stone to what comes next. It’s all well and good if people swim fast at Trials but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is when we’re all on the same playing field, when we all have to adhere to the same protocols, when we’re all standing on the same set of blocks, with the same crowd or lack of, that’s when things are going to really count.”

Titley ended by saying “thank you to Australia and America for giving us some excitement and we’ll see you in about 6 weeks.”

The 2021 Olympic Trials will get started on June 19, 2021, with the first prelims session beginning at 9:30 am EST, the second prelims session at 12:30 pm, and finals at 5:30 pm.

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Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
1 month ago

If not the USA, then CAN. Beat those Aussies! Oi! Oi! Oi!

Robbos
Reply to  Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
1 month ago

Love it, some one is worried.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

and just a few weeks ago, the americans were saying the milak gold medal predictions were only coming australians because they didn’t have any gold medal chances themselves, and therefore had to rely on foreigners to beat the americans!

Last edited 1 month ago by Old Man Chalmers
Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
1 month ago

I remember that

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
1 month ago

Someone is scared

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
1 month ago

their irrational hate for australian swimmers is palpable. there’s a real possibility that canada will win the w4x100 free silver over america, and wikipedia-fina.org-speedorankings-usaswimmingrankings over here can’t handle it

SwimmerFan99
1 month ago

This year is looking to be the rise of the Australian and Canadian women over the Americans. Canada was already coming close in 2016, but an even stronger Canadian team this year combined with a weaker American team… this is going to be intriguing at the very least.

oxyswim
Reply to  SwimmerFan99
1 month ago

There’s 1-2 Canadians who would be a slight favorite over the top American in their best event in MacNeil and maybe Oleksiak in the 100. Canada has been consistently getting better, but let’s not get carried away.

SwimmerFan99
Reply to  oxyswim
1 month ago

Yeah I should note I’m speaking of relays most particularly.

AnEn
Reply to  SwimmerFan99
1 month ago

The US is better in the medley relay and very likely also in the 800 free, let’s see about the 400 free relay.

AnEn
Reply to  oxyswim
1 month ago

The top american is better than the top canadian in every event except for maybe 100 free, 100 fly and the two IMs, not to mention that US has more depth in every single event.

dresselgoat
Reply to  oxyswim
1 month ago

He posts this in every thread – the American women will be as great as they always are, though I expect Australia and Canada to do fantastic!

SwimFan NU
Reply to  SwimmerFan99
1 month ago

With the American relays looking bleak, this could be Canada’s time to really shine and challenge Australia

AnEn
Reply to  SwimFan NU
1 month ago

The US is the favorite in the medley relay and in the other two events Canada has no shot at coming close to Australia (if they come close to their trials times). I am also not sure if Canada will be better than the US in both free relays.

Robbos
Reply to  AnEn
1 month ago

Well the Aussies are the last 2 times Olympic 4×100 Metres champions.
And the last 2 times Olympic 4X 200 silver medalist, they swam well but were well beaten by a US led Ledecky in 2016 & US led Schmitt in 2012.
So they have form to perform in the relays.

Torchbearer
Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

Australian women are rock solid in relays (as opposed to the men and some individual events)…Their relay record since Athens has been 12 events, 12 medals (6 Golds)…..cant rely on Australia messing up really.

Nancy Pulham
Reply to  SwimmerFan99
1 month ago

How would anybody even know?? The Canadians haven’t had much opportunity to race in the last 18 months.
Will be exciting come july though!

Tomek
Reply to  SwimmerFan99
1 month ago

Let the swimming do the talking