Why Was Olympic Medalist Penny Oleksiak DQed in the 200 Free at Worlds?

2022 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Swimming in the semifinals of the women’s 200 free on Monday in Budapest, Canadian Penny Oleksiak was disqualified for a false start.

The 22-year old, who won a bronze medal in this event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, tied as the 3rd-best time in prelims of the event in the morning session in 1:57.22. After a number of high-profile withdrawals from the event or the meet altogether, including Olympic gold medalist Ariarne Titmus, Olympic silver medalist Siobhan Haughey, and Katie Ledecky, Oleksiak was a big favorite to win a medal here in Budapest.

Instead, in the first heat of the women’s 200 free semi-final on Monday afternoon, she was disqualified for a flinch on the block. Below, the flinch can be clearly seen by Oleksiak in Lane 5, wearing a black cap and a red suit. It does sound like there was a noise before the start, though on video it echoes in the distance.

Oleksiak wound up touching in what appeared to be a 1:58, 8th in her heat in a time that would not have advanced to the final. It did appear, though, that coming off the last turn, she may have shut her race down, perhaps realizing that she had flinched.

Oleksiak owns a total of 7 Olympic medals, including individual gold in the 100 free from the Rio 2016 Games, where she tied American Simone Manuel. While she is the owner of three individua Olympic medals, she doesn’t have any individual World Championship medals in long course, tending to do her best swimming in Olympic years. She was 6th in the 100 free at the Gwangju World Championships in 2019.

Oleksiak has remaining entries in the 100 free, where she’s the 2nd remaining seed behind only Australia teen Molly O’Callaghan, plus several Canadian relays. She already anchored Canad’as 400 free relay to a silver medal on day 1 of the meet, with a 52.51 split that was the team’s fastest.

In This Story

20
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of

20 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
XXXX
5 months ago

It was more exciting with false starts. At least we have coloured suits again. Not everything new is better.

SwammaJammaDingDong
5 months ago

It was a big mistake for her to shut it down because she knew she flinched. Elite coaches and swimmers know what to say to appeal a false start at big meets. At least give it a try. Noise in the stands, flash, other swimmer made a sound, etc. There are plenty of potential arguments that require very little evidence. Unfortunately, because she completed the race there is no reason for the meet referee to offer a re-swim.

Madman2028
Reply to  SwammaJammaDingDong
5 months ago

They would never re-swim a 2free at worlds and if they did anyone redoing it wouldn’t win the final. Its one of the most brutal events to do and hardest to recover from. She has other events as well she made the right call.

Anonymous
5 months ago

Nicolo M. was rolling on his 50 breaststroke start. He never got set. The starter so far has been too fast and this allows for more rolling starts and anticipation.

Awsi Dooger
5 months ago

It was more pronounced during the NBC coverage. Rowdy was babbling but you could hear the sudden noise in the background. Difficult to tell but it sounded like it could have been a baby or child…”aaahhh.”

The reason it stood out was that the arena became very quiet in the seconds preceding.

Oleksiak definitely shut it down. I was wondering why the commentators weren’t mentioning it as the big name race favorite drifted to last place.

Troyy
Reply to  Braden Keith
5 months ago

I had to watch a replay to see the twitch even though it was very obvious because I wasn’t paying attention until the gun went so no surprise busy commentators would miss it.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Braden Keith
5 months ago

I wasn’t surprised they missed the twitch. I missed it live, although it was very obvious on replay. In the finals thread I noticed that many commenters here picked up on it immediately.

Given the defections in this race I was surprised the announcers didn’t focus on Oleksiak faltering so badly late, regardless of the reasoning.

I’ve been in press row countless times, albeit decades ago. There are certainly tons of distractions like public relations people handing you a last second memo, etc. Actually I think it’s impressive that the on-air talent does such a good job paying attention to exactly what the audience is seeing.

Joel
Reply to  Braden Keith
5 months ago

The Australian commentators saw the twitch and mentioned her shutting it down.

torchbearer
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
5 months ago

The Australian commentators were straight on it- called the DQ before she hit the water!

Riccardo
5 months ago

Me if I was in the stands:

https://youtu.be/UYNuTmuZUC4

ScovaNotiaSwimmer
5 months ago

She confirmed in an interview with CBC that she knew she false started before she hit the water.
Adrenaline might have made her go out fast before reality kicked in and she realized there was no point.
Although I remember my age-group coach always telling us to go full-speed even if we think we false started just in case no one caught it!

Coach Tom
Reply to  ScovaNotiaSwimmer
5 months ago

Your coach was right and I teach the same thing to age groupers…but at this level the technology makes it impossible for a false start to be missed.

Anonymous
5 months ago

There was a loud noise just before the flinch. The starter should have stood them up, called for quiet, and restarted. At this meet the starter has been too fast

VA Steve
Reply to  Anonymous
5 months ago

Ambient noise. They can’t stand for those.

anonymous
Reply to  VA Steve
5 months ago

At the Olympics I have seen them stand for camera activity.

Darren
Reply to  Anonymous
5 months ago

Didn’t they step down swimmers at 2012 London Olympics in 1500 free mens final for noise in stands?

anonymous
Reply to  Darren
5 months ago

yes

Dwight Yoder
Reply to  Anonymous
5 months ago

He’s been very quick. Watch the Women’s 100 back final. Lane 1 didn’t even have a chance to pull herself up to her starting position.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. 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, …

Read More »