Oleksiak Scratches 200 Free, Savard 50 Fly On Day 1 of Canadian Trials


Four-time Olympic medalist Penny Oleksiak has scratched out of the women’s 200 free on day 1 of the Canadian World Trials in Victoria, choosing to swim the 50 fly instead.

Oleksiak was seeded 2nd behind Katerine Savard with her best time of 1:57.59 from the 2016 Trials, but had to be considered the pre-race favorite after her 1:54.94 split on the 800 free relay in Rio. Savard was also the top seed in the 50 fly, but has scratched that event to focus on the 200 free.

The 50 fly is the first event of day 1 and the 200 free is the second, so it’s not a huge surprise they’ve each scratched an event. With Savard’s scratch Oleksiak is now the 3rd seed in the 50 fly at 27.24, but holds a best time of 25.93 which is just 0.01 off of Savard’s national record.

There were five other scratches from top ten seeds. #3 seed Mary-Sophie Harvey scratched the women’s 200 breast, #10 seed Emma Ball is out of the women’s 50 fly, and Josh Zakala (2nd), Alexander Pratt (3rd) and Brian Palaschuk (4th) all scratched out of the men’s 800 free.

Other day 1 scratches:

  • Stephen Calkins (men’s 50 fly, men’s 100 back)
  • Noah Choboter (men’s 50 fly)
  • Alexander Pratt (men’s 50 fly)
  • Tristan Cote (men’s 200 free)
  • Luke Reilly (men’s 200 breast)
  • Rosie Zavaros (women’s 100 back)
  • Jessie Gibson (women’s 100 back)
  • Josiah Binnema (men’s 100 back)
  • Kate Rendall (women’s 1500 free)
  • Alexander Blaskovich (men’s 800 free)
  • Etienne Paquin-Foisy (men’s 800 free)
  • Nail Kaddache (men’s 800 free)


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how does the Canadian WC selection process work? Does it mean that Oleksiak won’t compete at 200free at all in Budapest? Neither individually nor in relay?


Surprising for Penny to drop the 200 over the 50. The 50 is not a selection event, guess she’s just using it as a first swim to get comfortable?


Yes, I think so.
Too many physical troubles hampered her preparation to begin in this season “the 200-free project” (or the even more futuristic 200 fly-project)
I’m curious to se how she will be swimming in her real races at this trials, i.e. the 100 fly and free.

Taylor Ruck, “victim of OT”, 12 months later is the favorite for individual 200 free. Kayla Sanchez the most improved swimmer so far in the season.

Bill G

Since Oleksiak swam the 200m free at the 2015 Trials (finishing 2nd) and dropped a 1:54.94 relay split in Rio, I would say that the 200m free project appears well-advanced. I agree that her injuries may have been a factor in this decision to scratch the 200m free. It will be interesting to see if she elects to swim the 200m fly -as noted in previous SwimSwam articles, this is a rare women’s event with nobody in the field having a FINA-A standard. My personal theory …. with 4 spots up for grabs in the 200m free, Oleksiak scratching gives a better chance for her training partners – Rebecca Smith and Kayla Sanchez – to punch their tickets to Budapest… Read more »


There’s also the fact that the 50m butterfly is right before the 200m freestyle. Both Oleksiak and Savard would have needed to pick one or the other, with not enough recovery time between races, even in the heats.


This may be Taylor Ruck’s breakout senior meet (long course) if she’s healthy. Excited to see what she can do– a very versatile swimmer.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James formerly competed for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in February of 2018, placing 11th at the OUA Championships in the 200 IM, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics in May. He …

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