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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Bryan Shapiro
4 years ago

I was surprised NOT to see Sjostrom? Any news about her?

Admin
Reply to  Bryan Shapiro
4 years ago

Yep! She’s still Swedish, and so ineligible for the Pan Pac Championships. She did become the most-medaled woman in the history of the European Championships last week, so that was exciting: https://swimswam.com/sarah-sjostrom-now-leads-all-women-with-23-european-lc-medals/

M Palota
4 years ago

As per her Twitter feed, one of the two persons killed at the Danforth mass shooting in Toronto on Sunday night was a young woman that she – Penny – went to school with.

It’s speculation on my part but, if it were me, I’d have a tough time going to PanPacs – or anything like that – after someone I knew – someone so young – was killed in such a tragic way.

Gary P
4 years ago

This explanation just doesn’t add up. Unless there’s some undisclosed injury, there’s no reason to think that resting now instead of a month from now will have any meaningful affect on her physical performance capacity in 2020.

TheJudga
4 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 »

Liam
4 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.

luigi
4 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
4 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
4 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.

ALEXANDER POP-OFF
4 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.

Verram
4 years ago

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

Rice
Reply to  Verram
4 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
4 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
4 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
4 years ago

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

Canadaman11
Reply to  Rice
4 years ago

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

Canadaman11
Reply to  Verram
4 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?

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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