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Oleksiak solid into semifinals

2017 FINA World Championships –

BUDAPEST, Hungary – Penny Oleksiak will race in the semifinals tonight in the 100-metre freestyle at the FINA World Championships in Budapest.

Oleksiak, who won gold in this event at the Olympics in Rio, qualified fourth in 53.18 seconds.

“It felt pretty good, it was decently easy. I have a bit more going into tonight and finals hopefully,” said Oleksiak, who doesn’t feel stress from being the defending Olympic champion. “I don’t feel extra pressure at all honestly. I know coming into this it’s a lot faster than it was last year, so yet again I have no expectations going into tonight or finals. I’m just excited to race.”

Sandrine Mainville will also race the 100-m freestyle tonight. Mainville, who is Oleksiak’s teammate at the High Performance Centre – Ontario, qualified 12th in 54.22.

The women’s 4×200-m freestyle relay of Katerine Savard, Mary-Sophie Harvey, Rebecca Smith and Kayla Sanchez qualified the team for tonight’s final. The four women finished heats eighth in 7:56.49.

“The atmosphere is so great here. Swimming with these three girls is great, they’ve been swimming well all week,” said Smith, who also trains at HPC – Ontario. “We really tried our best this morning so we’ll see what we can do tonight.”

Two Canadians will also be swimming the 200-m breaststroke tonight. Kierra Smith, of Kelowna, B.C., qualified sixth, and Ashley MacGregor of Pointe-Claire, Que., is ranked ninth.

“It felt awesome. It was good to get my first 200 breast out of the way. I didn’t feel a lot of nerves because my only job was to make top 16,” said Smith. “I’m looking forward to tonight, and getting a little sharper and a little faster as the meet goes on. My goal is to be in the top eight”

The FINA World Championships run through Sunday. Finals begin at 11:30 am ET each day and will be streamed live by CBC in English at and in French on Radio-Canada Sports Facebook Live.

Full results are available at