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Penny Oleksiak shows fight to win 100-metre freestyle at Team Canada Trials

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VICTORIA – The race followed a different script from what she planned but Penny Oleksiak was still satisfied with the result Friday at the 2017 Team Canada Trials.


The Olympic gold medallist was fourth after 50 metres but turned it on the final 25 to win the women’s 100-m freestyle in 53.84 seconds.

“I kind of just went out a little bit too slow,” said the 16-year-old from Toronto who trains at the High Performance Centre – Ontario. “I need to learn to go out faster. I hope it’s not like a trend.

“I’m pretty happy with it. My only goal of the day was just to make the team so I can’t really complain right now.”

Oleksiak won the 100 metres at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in an Olympic record time of 52.70 seconds.

Sandrine Mainville of Boucherville, Que., who attends the Universite de Montreal, led for most of the way before settling for second in 53.95. Both swimmers were under the FINA A qualifying time of 54.90.

Michelle Toro of the North York Aquatic Club was third in 54.14 while Chantal Van Landeghem of Winnipeg was fourth in 54.16. They will join Oleksiak and Mainville on the 4×100-m freestyle relay team at the FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. The four women were part of the 4×100-m freestyle team that took home bronze in Rio.

The trials, which end Sunday, have attracted over 400 swimmers to Saanich Commonwealth Place looking to earn a spot on the Canadian team which will compete at the world championships July 14-30.

Preliminary heats begin at 10 a.m. each day, with finals set for 6 p.m. All sessions will be webcast live on CBC Sports at

To qualify for individual events at the world championships swimmers must finish in the top two in the final and be under the FINA A qualifying time.

Prior to the start of the evening competition two-time Olympic medallist Ryan Cochrane of Victoria was presented with a plaque commemorating him being inducted into the Swimming Canada Circle of Excellence.

“I am very humbled to be here in Victoria,” said Cochrane, 28, who recently announced his retirement. “Thank you, Victoria. This is the very best place to be an athlete.”

Yuri Kisil of Calgary had a close call but won the men’s 100-m freestyle in 48.90, squeezing under the qualifying time by .03.

“It was closer than I thought it would be,” said the 21-year-old who trains at the High Performance Centre – Vancouver. “I’m just happy I made the team.

“I thought I might be a little bit faster.”

Markus Thormeyer of Delta, B.C., who also trains at the High Performance Centre – Vancouver, was second in 49.13 while Carson Olafson, of Cultus Lake, B.C., who swims for the UBC Dolphin Swim Club, was third in 50.28.

Richard Funk of Edmonton also swam under the qualifying time in the 100-m breaststroke. Funk, who trains at the High Performance Centre – Ontario, won in one minute, 0.03 seconds.

Eli Wall of Ottawa, who trains at the High Performance Center – Ontario, was second in 1:01.72, over the qualifying time of 1:00.35. James Dergousoff of the Chena Swim Club was third in 1:02.26.

Rachel Nicol of Lethbridge, Alta., won the women’s 100-m breaststroke in 1:07.43, leaving her .15 under the qualifying time.

Kierra Smith of Kelowna, B.C., was second in 1:08.44 while Faith Knelson of Island Swimming was third in 1:08.80.

Sydney Pickrem and Mary-Sophie Harvey both swam under the qualifying time of 4:43.06 in the women’s 400-m individual medley.

Pickrem, who is representing Island Swimming, won in 4:35.43.   

Harvey of Saint-Jérôme, Que., who trains at the Intensive Training Program – Montreal, was second in 4:36.60.

Sarah Darcel of Victoria, who trains with the High Performance Centre – Victoria, was third in 4:39.29.

Tristan Cote of Mississauga, Ont., who trains with the University of Calgary, qualified in the men’s 400-m IM in 4:17.40 which is .50 under the qualifying time. Luke Reilly of Richmond, B.C., who trains at the High Performance Centre – Vancouver, was second in 4:18.14 while Rob Hill of Chena was third in 4:20.47.

The men’s and women’s 50-m backstrokes are not selection races for the world championships.

Kylie Masse of Windsor, Ont., won the back in a 2017 world best time of 27.71 while Tim Zeng of Chena took the men’s race in 25.47.