Penny Oleksiak Opts Out of Competing At Knoxville Pro Swim Series


Seven-time Olympic medalist Penny Oleksiak will not be competing this week at the Pro Swim Series stop in Knoxville.

Oleksiak, who was slated to make her highly-anticipated return to competition after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in late August, has made the decision alongside coach Ryan Mallette not to compete at the event but is in Knoxville training, Swimming Canada told SwimSwam.

Oleksiak will join the other Canadian swimmers in attendance in Knoxville for a High Performance Centre training camp hosted by Swimming Canada in Florida after the meet.

Swimming Canada said that Oleksiak is currently working with team physicians to determine the best time to return to competition.

“This meet was one of the options, and training through the meet has also been another planned option that they ended up choosing,” a spokesperson said. “The ultimate goal is for her to work towards being at her best to represent Canada in Paris 2024.”

After her surgery in the summer, Oleksiak wrote that her recovery would probably “be the longest and most tentative one I’ve ever had to deal with.”

The 22-year-old’s return in Knoxville made headlines due in part to the fact that it aligned with the re-emergence of Simone Manuel, the woman with whom she shared an Olympic gold medal in the 100 freestyle back in 2016.

Oleksiak was a no-show in the heats of the women’s 200 freestyle on Thursday morning in Knoxville, where she was coming in as the third seed, and she was also entered to race the 100 free and 50 fly later in the meet.

In addition to her individual gold medal in the 100 free, Oleksiak won silver in the women’s 100 fly and added two relay bronze medals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, and followed up by claiming three more Olympic medals in Tokyo, including individual bronze in the 200 free. Her seven career Olympic medals makes her Canada’s most decorated Olympian.

At the 2022 World Championships, Oleksiak placed fourth in the women’s 100 free (52.98) and won four relay medals. Among the favorites in the 200 free, she was disqualified in the semi-finals for a false start.

The Toronto native then withdrew from the Commonwealth Games in order to have surgery.

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About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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