Penny Oleksiak and Tess Routliffe were the headliners for Canada as a pair of high-profile international events took place over the weekend.
Oleksiak became the first Canadian to compete in the new FINA Champions Series. The quadruple Olympic medallist from the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Ontario swam four events at the invitation-only event in Budapest.
A total of 13 Olympic and 21 World champions competed at the Duna Arena, site of the 2017 FINA World Championships. The 68 swimmers from 23 nations had a total of 67 Olympic and 175 World Championships medals to their credit.
Oleksiak anchored a multinational mixed 4×100-m freestyle relay to victory on Saturday, teaming with Jeremy Desplanches of Switzerland, American Justin Ress, and Siobhan O’Connor of England for a time of 3:27.63. Sixteen world-class swimmers were randomized into four teams for the event.
Oleksiak also finished third in the 50-m butterfly (26.04) and 100-m butterfly (58.52) and added a fourth-place finish in the 100-m freestyle (54.45).
The fast-paced, high-energy format features four-lane finals only, with no preliminary heats. Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden was the woman to beat, with five titles over the two-day event.
“It was fun and it was a lot of learning for me. It’s very different than what I’m used to because it’s literally one race and then you’re done. Overall I’d say it was a good time,” Oleksiak said.
Her coach Ben Titley was pleased to see Oleksiak’s butterfly times were faster than she posted at the Canadian Swimming Trials in April.
“Racing the very best people in the world and for Penny two of her three individual swims were quicker than she went in the Trials. For the first races of this cycle leading into world championships and coming off the national team camp the first part of the week, she did a good job,” Titley said.
Oleksiak, Kylie Masse and Sydney Pickrem will be in action at the third and final leg of the series May 31 and June 1 in Indianapolis.
Meanwhile in Singapore at the Para Swimming World Series, Tess Routliffe won gold in the women’s multi class 50-m butterfly Multiclass with a time of 37.69, good for 854 points.
“I was really happy with my race,” said the Paralympic medallist from the High Performance Centre – Quebec. “We learned from the mistakes we made in the morning and I came back and swam a lot better. I’m really happy with that.”
A total of 172 athletes from 26 countries competed at the Singapore event.
“We had some good competitors in Singapore. It’s been a great meet and it’s been a lot of fun,” Routliffe said. “We had USA, New Zealand and all those guys here, it was really fun to compete on the international stage here, see some people I’m friends with and just overall get a look at where we are.”