Sydney Pickrem Skips 400 IM Prelim Due to Non-COVID “Medical Reasons”


Canadian swimmer Sydney Pickrem was a late scratch in the women’s 400 meter IM on Saturday, dropping the race as the #6 seed.

The Canadian Olympic Committee announced Pickrem’s scratch saying it was “due to medical reasons not related to COVID-19.”

The statement continued: “We have made this decision in consultation with Sydney, our national team medical staff and her coach Ben Titley at the High Performance Centre – Ontario to protect her performances for the rest of the Olympic Games. With a very busy program that also consists of two other individual events which would have heats, semifinals and finals, and may also include relays, this decision is in the best interest of the athlete at this time. Our focus turns to supporting Sydney in her preparation for the 200m individual medley in two days’ time.”

No more specifics were available, though Pickrem was spotted doing a “wakeup” swim before prelims on Saturday morning before returning to the athletes’ village.

Pickrem entered the event in spite of coming into the meet having not swum the 400 IM in 2020. Her seed time of 4:35 in the race came in 2019 and her best time of 4:32 came back in 2017.

She finished 4th in the race at the 2019 World Championships, though it was a wide gap – 4:36.7 to 4:32.3 – to a medal. With a relatively-slow prelims session overall, however, that gap might have closed, especially with the World Champion Katinka Hosszu qualifying to the final just 7th.

Canada has two other 400 IMers on the roster – Mary-Sophie Harvey and Bailey Andison. Teams were allowed to swap in athletes already on their rosters at the Team Leaders meeting earlier this week, but Canada chose not to do so.

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1 month ago

The other 400IMers mentioned do not have the fina a standard, so they could not have been swapped in alongside Cieplucha.

Reply to  gllr0302
1 month ago

The last sentence of the article addresses that.

Reply to  John
1 month ago

Well not really, it implies Canada had a choice when in fact they did not. This scratch did not effect any other Canadian swimmer losing out a swim.

Steve Nolan
1 month ago

I guess that’s smarter than starting the race and not finishing it.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Cheap dig. And it was the 2IM that she inhaled water.

1 month ago

Yep and she will NOT make podium in 200 IM

1 month ago

Always an excuse with her it seems, or just bad timing??

Reply to  Hswimmer
1 month ago

She’s been a stalwart of the Canadian team for years now swimming some of the toughest events. She wasn’t named captain of he ISL team for no reason. We don’t know yet fully the reasons here. If she is slightly off health wise then it’s a good decision to rest from the grueling 4IM where she was not a clear medal threat, and get healthy for a realistic run at the 2IM gold… Best of luck to her!

1 month ago

She has a habit of scratching last minute. Never thought she’d do it at the Olympics. Wonder what’s the excuse now

Last edited 1 month ago by Lexi
1 month ago

How come Bailey Andison didn’t fill the spot?

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Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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