2021 CANADIAN OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS
- June 19 – June 23, 2021
- Toronto, Ontario
- Toronto Pan Am Sport Centre
- Long Course Meters (50m)
- Olympic Qualifying Event
- Swimming Canada Olympic Selection Criteria
- Meet Package
- Psych Sheets
- Live results
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.