Penny Oleksiak: “I’m finally swimming because I want to swim”

Before competing at the 2024 Canadian Open, Canadian Olympic gold medalist Penny Oleksiak did an interview with CBC Sports published Wednesday morning, where she detailed her refreshed mindset and training changes headed into the Paris 2024 Olympic games since recovering from injury.

“I’m at a really, really good place in my life and I’m happy with what I’m doing. I’m finally swimming because I want to swim,” Oleksiak told CBC.  “It’s a choice I’m making to go to the pool. I don’t feel like I have to be there or that I’m going to let people down if I don’t go.”

The Canadian Open is just Oleksiak’s second competition since May 2023, with her first being the Westmont Pro Series in March. She missed the 2023 World Championships to rehab her left knee and had also been dealing with a left shoulder injury. She revealed that during the U.S. Open championships in November 2023 (which she scratched out of), she suffered yet another knee injury and had to get surgery for it in November.

For the first time since 2016, when Oleksiak won individual gold at the Olympics, she is coming into a swim meet without the pressure of retiring in 2024. Now, she wants to continue swimming through the 2028 Olympics.

“When I was 16 years old I remember swearing up and down that I was going to [be] done swimming when I was 24. These Olympics in Paris were going to be my last Olympics. I was freaking out about it and now that I’m here I’m like, I have a lot more time to swim,” Oleksiak said.

“I want to be better for the girls on the relays. I want to be better for the guys on the mixed relays. I just want to be better as an athlete and as a person,”

In the fall of 2023, Oleksiak moved her training base from Swimming Canada’s High-Performance Centre in Toronto to Mission Viejo, California, where she is swimming under head coach Jeff Julian‘s pro group alongside swimmers like Justin Ress, Trenton Julian, Sean Grieshop, and her former Canadian teammate Kayla Sanchez (who now represents the Phillippines).  Oleksiak says that she swims fewer meters at Mission Viejo compared to what she did in Toronto.

At the Canadian Open, Oleksiak finished sixth in the 200 free with a time of 1:59.75. She is also set to swim the 100 free. In a month, she looks to compete at the Canadian Olympic trials from May 13 to 19.

“It feels like I’m making my own decisions for once,” Oleksiak said. “I’m really happy with where I’m at right now and what I’m trying to do is going to be transcending the sport. Right now I’m content with where I’m at with my life and what I’ve accomplished and what I want to do in the future. I want to go to the Olympics and have a long career.”

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1 month ago

I think Penny has realised she is so much more than just a swimmer!

1 month ago

vine boom

Outside Smoke
1 month ago

Sounds like she’s done a lot of growing up. Hope for a promising next four years!

1 month ago

Ah yes. The classic burnt out super star trying to convince themselves that theyre still into swimming quote

Reply to  KSW
1 month ago

Unnecessary comment. Bitter much?

Stewart Fenwick
Reply to  KSW
1 month ago

That maybe the case.

But you have no idea what’s going on with another person you don’t even know or meet.

So your comment is not warranted.

Reply to  KSW
1 month ago

What’s your life achievements besides being bitter?

Alice Wang
1 month ago

So happy that she is at a good place mentally, best wishes for her always

1 month ago

Streets saying she scratched the meet at the end of the interview

1 month ago


“I’m finally happy with my swimming and where I’m at”

“That wasn’t good enough for me”

Mr Piano
Reply to  ScovaNotiaSwimmer
1 month ago


1 month ago

She realized she was going to have to get a real job and swimming for a career is not all that bad

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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