The Top 5 Swims from the Inaugural Canadian Open


After a weekend of racing at the Pan Am Sports Centre in Toronto, the inaugural Canadian Open is in the books. Some of Canada’s biggest swimming stars were in attendance, tuning up ahead of the Canadian Olympic Trials next month.

There were some strong swims over the four days, and we’ve put together a ranking of our top five swims from the meet. As always, these lists are subjective so if you don’t see your swim of the meet here, feel free to shout it out in the comments below.

5. Alexander Axon, 400 Freestyle — 3:49.33

Whether they were in Toronto at the Canadian Open or in San Antonio at the final Pro Series Stop, there were plenty of NCAA athletes making a quick turnaround from the 25-yards to 50-meter pool. Ohio State sophomore Alexander Axon was one such swimmer. At the men’s NCAA championships, he swam a lifetime best in the 500-yard prelims (4:12.62) and earned a spot in the ‘B’ final.

Now back in meters, he’s continued to make strides in mid-distance free. Prior to this meet, Axon’s lifetime best was a 3:51.16 from the TYR Pro Championships in July 2023. After cruising a 3:53.91 in prelims for the fastest time of the morning, Axon got set to defend his position in finals.

Axon came from behind to win the men’s 400 freestyle at this meet, passing Lorne Wigginton to win by .52 seconds. Axon turned in a new lifetime best of 3:49.33, which marks his first time cracking the 3:50 barrier. That’s a 1.83 second drop for Axon, which puts him within shouting distance of the Olympic ‘B’ cut time (3:47.91) with about five weeks before Canadian Trials.

4. Maggie MacNeil, 100 Backstroke — 59.93

Summer McIntosh got the better of Maggie MacNeil in the 100 butterfly, the event MacNeil won her Olympic title in. MacNeil was faster this weekend (57.24) than she was at this time in the run up to her Olympic gold medal, but we’re highlighting MacNeil’s 100 backstroke on this list.

“It was something fun to get my meet started,” MacNeil said after her 100 backstroke win on the first night of competition. The race came down to the touch between McNeil, McIntosh, and 2024 Worlds bronze medalist Ingrid Wilm. MacNeil got her hand on the wall first, stopping the clock in 59.93, .03 seconds ahead of McIntosh.

MacNeil does not race the 100 backstroke in the long-course pool that often, though she’s shown her prowess in the stroke both at SCM Worlds and in yards during her NCAA career. Her 59.93 is the second-fastest time of her career in the event and just her second sub-1:00 swim. Her PB sits at 59.45 from April 2021.

While it may have just been a fun off-event to start her meet with and not an event she’s pursuing seriously for what she says may be her final Olympic Games, it’s still a strong swim from MacNeil. Together with her other races, she put together a strong “dress rehearsal” ahead of Olympic Trials next month.

3. Summer McIntosh, 100 Freestyle — 53.90

There are a couple options for which McIntosh swim is the most impressive. She won four events in four days, and posted the fastest 200 freestyle time in 2024 on the opening night of the meet (1:54.21). Aside from the 200 free and 200 IM, McIntosh took on a non-traditional lineup for her, racing all four 100s. And at the risk of overwhelming this list with freestyle events, we think that of those swims, it was her 100 free that stood out the most.

McIntosh won a stacked final that included Maggie MacNeil, Mary-Sophie Harvey, and Penny Oleksiak. McIntosh beat all three, charging to the win in a lifetime best 53.90. It was McIntosh’s first sub-54 second outing. Her previous lifetime best stood at 54.39 from March 2023, which she neared in February 2024 with a 54.58.

McIntosh led the field around at the turn with a 26.20 to the feet. She came back in 27.70, holding off MacNeil for the win and the only sub-54 second effort in the field.

Breaking that 54 second barrier is another achievement unlocked for the versatile 17-year-old. And like the next entry on this list, this swim aids Canada’s Olympic relay hopes.

2. Mary-Sophie Harvey, 200 Freestyle — 1:56.76

While McIntosh earned the women’s 200 freestyle win in an impressive 1:54.21, Mary-Sophie Harvey put together an excellent swim for second ahead of swimmers like Julie Brousseau and Ella Jansen.

Harvey fired off a lifetime best 1:56.76, which marks the first time she’s broken 1:57 and is a new Quebec Provincial record. One of the most impressive parts of the swim was the way that she split it. Harvey negative split the race; she turned at the halfway point in 58.57, then came charging through the field on the back of the race in 58.19.

At 24 years old, Harvey is finding new heights at just the right moment ahead of the Olympic summer. She’s been racing a lot this season and has been consistently dropping time in this event. At the end of November in the U.S. Open, she posted a lifetime bets 1:57.70. In less than six months, she’s taken .94 seconds off that time, first dropping to 1:57.06 in March then bettering that time at this meet.

Along with making her a favorite for an individual Olympic berth, Harvey’s improvements this season also boost Canada’s Olympic hopes in the 4×200 freestyle relay.

1. Nicholas Bennett, 200 Freestyle — 1:54.20

On the first night of competition, Nicholas Bennett raced by himself against the clock in the 200 freestyle. The 20-year-old made the most of the clean water, firing off a new Canadian Para S14 record with a 1:54.20.

He opened the race in 26.58. Then, he split 28.94 and 29.67 over the middle 100-meters and closed in 29.01, taking .21 seconds off the previous record. He owned that mark as well, a 1:54.41 he swam in 2022.

“I was expecting to be close to my best time but not beating it,” Bennett told CBC after the race. “It’s been two years since I’ve posted a best time in this [event] so I’m still process it. That was unrested and untapered so we’ll see what we can do next month at the Trials when I’m a little bit more prepped.”

This in-season record is a strong sign for Bennett, who is looking to follow up his first S14 world titles (200 free, 200 IM) from the 2023 Para Swimming World Championships with Paralympic gold this summer. Bennett finished 6th at the Tokyo Games and this time would have earned him bronze.

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1 month ago

An interesting set of event, great performances all.

Hear me out though – the word inaugural doesn’t seem to mean what Swimming Canada thinks it means:

The unoriginal Tim
1 month ago


1 month ago

Not Jere Hribar’s 50 free?

1 month ago

I expected this article was gonna rank Summer’s 5 best swims lol

Bo Swims
1 month ago

Congrats to Nic

1 month ago

Was more impressed by Summer’s 100 fly than the 100 free.

Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

For the downvoters:

  1. Beat reigning Olympic champion
  2. Achieved the Olympic A standard (the 100 free didn’t even achieve the B standard)
  3. Higher WAQ points (912 vs 882 for 100 free)
Stewart Fenwick
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

You made a good argument

Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

You’re argument is weakened when you say the 100 free isn’t even a B standard.The standard is 53.88,she swam 53.90.She,s 17 and 100 free is not one of her events.Could she swim an A standard in trials (53.61)?Of course she could and I expect she will swim a great 100f relay leg if called upon.You,re not impressed-well I don’t know your time for 100 free but it must be good if you have such lofty standards.

Reply to  Bob
1 month ago

Imagine being this sensitive. All I’m saying is the 100 fly was better than the 100 free and you’re taking it like it was some attack on Summer. Weird.

Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

You’re right.I was drinking whiskey at the time…a 10 year old Lehaig,peated,very nice and not overly expensive…my point was supposed to be that just saying her 100f time was not even a B time without mentioning it was only .02 away was kind of weak…so it goes.

Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

The 100 fly was better but irrelevant cause she’s not swimming it. The 100 free individually is not earth shattering but is a good sign for the relay that’s she’s improving

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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