Penny Oleksiak Withdraws From Pan Pacific Championships

2018 CANADIAN SWIMMING TRIALS

Four-time Olympic medalist Penny Oleksiak will not compete at next month’s Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, Swimming Canada reported on Sunday night.

Oleksiak won both the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly at the Canadian Pan Pac Trials in Edmonton over the course of the last week, but has made the decision alongside Swimming Canada’s high performance leadership team that a break would be the best thing for her before getting back to full training in September.

“Together we have worked with Penny and her support team to look at a plan for the future. Right now she will be taking a summer break following Trials. The intent is for her to return to training in September so she starts the final two years of the quad refreshed and ready to do the best she can representing herself and Canada,” said Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson.

In addition to winning the 100 free and 100 fly, Oleksiak first qualified for the Pan Pac team by placing 3rd in the 200 freestyle on the opening night of competition.

“Penny has accomplished more at her age than any young swimmer in Canadian history and it’s been a very busy two years since Rio. She is a young woman with incredible potential as we look ahead to the two year push towards Tokyo,” Atkinson said.

Oleksiak won her four Olympic medals in Rio at just 16 years of age, including a gold medal in the 100 freestyle. Last summer at the World Championships she won a pair of bronze medals in the mixed 400 free and 400 medley relays.

Atkinson also pointed out that Olympic bronze medalist Katerine Savard has taken a break from the national team this summer, and that it has been a successful strategy in the past with Brittany Maclean taking the 2015 World Championships off before competing at the 2016 Games in Rio.

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Wow
3 years ago

Wonder where she will train come September
Wish her the best of luck to reach her full potential in the future!

Canadaman11
Reply to  Wow
3 years ago

Any chance that she returns to HPC Ontario and Ben Titley?

Swimmer
Reply to  Canadaman11
3 years ago

People who have left Ben in the past don’t tend to go back. He’s clearly a great coach, but maybe the programme isn’t for everyone.

Canadaman11
Reply to  Swimmer
3 years ago

That’s too bad. Ruck’s career has skyrocketed since she joined Titley’s group and Oleksiak’s has plummeted since she left (probably a slight exaggeration on my part).

joseph
Reply to  Canadaman11
3 years ago

Taylor Ruck does not have the pressure that Penny Oleksiak has.
Media, sponsors, people in general speak only of Penny in Canada and expect her to win everything, all the time. It is not a good comparison parameter.
You say that when taylor Ruck goes to Stanford University his level will go down? because she’s going to leave Ben Titley this summer.

mike
Reply to  Wow
3 years ago

Still no answer or observations to your question of where she swims in the fall? Who will Ben coach in the Fall ? One swimmer? The question begs to ask. Why is he coaching so few swimmers??? And why did Penny leave if he is such a great coach??

joseph
Reply to  mike
3 years ago

It is a great question.
Ben Titley, can only train teenagers or professionals. Most swimmers go to universities.
In Canada there are very few professional swimmers and very few young swimmers (15 or 16 years old) with Olympic aspirations.
Many swimmers do not train with Ben Titley because he is very strict, very demanding, does not allow to miss training, the swimmers must focus 100% on training, swimming is first to not the school, not get sponsors, not have sections of photos, etc.
That’s why it gets good results, the swimmers are only 100% focused on giving results and nothing more.
And that was the reason why Penny left, she has many sections of photos,… Read more »

Mike
Reply to  joseph
2 years ago

Thank You for your detailed response Joseph. Both Ben Titley and his Friend from England coached the Ontario Swim Academy, he had the same approach. Swimming is everything. That coach quit the program and went back to England. I don’t think either coach is correct. Swimming SHOULD NOT come first. School should. It is fine for a coach like Ben to say swimming is everything because that is all he cares about. Well what is Penny going to do when she is 30? After her swim career is over. Do these Coaches care about their futures? The University of Toronto swim coach has always said school comes first and he is Right.

Markster
3 years ago

Surprised to see her taking some time off. I guess Troy’s training was a bit too rough. Wish we could’ve seen the long term results from it though.

Jmanswimfan
Reply to  Markster
3 years ago

too rough? For one one of the top 5 best female swimmers in the world

Just sayin
Reply to  Jmanswimfan
3 years ago

Ledecky, Hozzu, Manuel, efimova, king, Masse, Seebohm, Sjostrom, C1, and maybe Baker… I would say are all currently better and more successful this however doesn’t’ean she isn’t capable I would just say right now she’s maybe pushing top 10 her ceiling is very very high but she’s not top 5 yet. And I think winning a gold medal at 16 is hard to move forward from she’ll find her groove again.

Dee
Reply to  Markster
3 years ago

Maybe it has nothing to do with swimming? She hasnt exactly had the easiest 12 months in her personal life. She is a teenage girl, swimming shouldnt be her whole world. She has looked in need of a little break for a while.

joseph
Reply to  Dee
3 years ago

I agree, the mental aspect is a very important factor.

Ben
Reply to  Dee
3 years ago

Not to mention her grandmother dying the day before the Comonwealth Games began.

SumTing Wong
Reply to  Ben
3 years ago

An Australian swimmers father died just before a race at the CWG once & they decided not to tell her till after the relay ..Priorities!

Yozhik
3 years ago

“…so she starts the final two years of the quad refreshed and ready ….”
Ok, if that is an official and the only reason then what was a swimming in this very weird meet good for. Or she realized suddenly yesterday that the rest is urgently necessary right now for a month, otherwise there would be no luck in two years in Tokyo. She wasn’t injured in this meet, was she?
Golden girl of Canada… That is how difficult to predict the future of 15-16 years old prodigies in swimming.

Verram
3 years ago

Oh well at least she got to swim commonwealth games .. weakens the Canadian relays though

Rice
Reply to  Verram
3 years ago

Yes I wonder who will be swimming that butterfly, I cant remember the name of the girl whocane 2nd but I guess it’ll be her

Rice
Reply to  Rice
3 years ago

I remember now it’s Maggie MacNeil, but she’s off to Junior pan pacs. Savard would have been the other option, but she isn’t swimming either, that medley relay may struggle.

Phoebe47
Reply to  Rice
3 years ago

Rebecca Smith, I guess. She swam the fly leg in the mixed medley prelim in 2017 Worlds. She won a silver behind Ikee in the individual 1Fl in 2017 Junior Worlds

CANADIAN
Reply to  Rice
3 years ago

Masse, Kierra Smith, Rebecca Smith, Taylor Ruck – R Smith has been a 57.7 this year

Canadaman11
Reply to  Rice
3 years ago

I would guess it would be Rebecca Smith who was a finalist at the Commonwealth Games.

Canadaman11
Reply to  Verram
3 years ago

Here are my relay picks:
medley: Masse/K Smith (possibly Wog)/R Smith/Ruck
100m free: Zevnik/Sanchez/R Smith/Ruck
200m free: R Smith/Sanchez/Padington (possibly Goss)/Ruck

What does everyone else think?

ALEXANDER POP-OFF
3 years ago

Perhaps there is a concern that she is not hitting the times she wants and needs to hit. Psychologically, it may have been too much to go to Pan Pacs and struggle again.

luigi
3 years ago

She/her coach must have realized that her times were good enough for the home trials, but not for a good showing at an international meet. And decided to spare her the psychological fall-out.

Yozhik
Reply to  luigi
3 years ago

It is most likely the reason. Then why not to tell it. People understand (most of them, most of the time 😀 ). She is very likable and the openness will only add to her popularity.

Observer
Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

She did that in commonwealth but as one comment said it weakens the relays..in fairness to other swimmers, I guessed the coaching stafffs realized this and made a good decision. In a way hopefully it will keep her re-focus.

Liam
3 years ago

I wish her the best and I think a break could be good for her. Then she could rest and just focus on training better before world championships next year and the Olympics.

TheJudga
3 years ago

I remember hitting a plateau when I swam. The single-most important change I found was taking a break and then starting at things from a fresh perspective. This included being open to technique changes, new events, and some dedication to solid training when returning… and with time all of a sudden my original events started improving again.

It’s hard psychologically when the drops stop. That’s why swimming a multitude of “random” events can help – it shows that your still improving overall as a swimmer. Like, why not swim a 400 Free and get a PB? It could show your endurance is getting better AND you may even find yourself having a new best area – early success in… Read more »

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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