Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
In nearly five years since winning the 2016 Olympics in the 100 free, Penny Oleksiak has had plenty of ups and downs.
In 2016, she went 52.70 to tie for that Olympic title. In 2017, she was 52.94, but missed the World Championships medals in 6th place. In 2018, she fell to just 53.85 for her season-best, placing 5th at Commonwealth Games and not competing at Pan Pacs. In 2019, she went just 53.60, scratching out of the World Championships field in the event.
The arrow certainly wasn’t trending in the right direction for the first athlete born in the 2000s ever to win Olympic gold.
But Oleksiak has rocketed back in a big way. In 2020, she went 53.41 in-season before the coronavirus pandemic shut down competition for a significant period. Then this week at Canadian Olympic Trials, Oleksiak crushed a 52.89 to win the 100 free, setting herself up for an Olympic gold defense with the #4 time in the world this year.
Top 100 freestylers – 2020-2021 season
- Emma McKeon (AUS) – 52.19
- Cate Campbell (AUS) – 52.43
- Madi Wilson (AUS) – 52.76
- Penny Oleksiak (CAN) – 52.89
- Zhang Yufei (CHN) – 52.90