LAS VEGAS – Five Canadians helped Energy Standard to the first ever International Swimming League championship as the new professional circuit wrapped up its Grand Finale Saturday at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Mary-Sophie Harvey, Penny Oleksiak, Kayla Sanchez, Kierra Smith and Rebecca Smith all earned points for the victorious team, which clinched the title in the final 50-m freestyle skins races.
After a showdown between two of the world’s fastest women – Australian Cate Campbell for London Roar and Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom for Energy Standard – Florent Manaudou of France sealed the win with a second-place finish in the men’s skins. American Caeleb Dressel took the individual victory – and men’s most valuable player award – for the Cali Condors, which finished third.
Energy Standard captain Chad Le Clos of South Africa was the first to hoist the angular black trophy, followed by women’s most valuable player Sjostrom and the rest of the team, which ended up celebrating by jumping in the pool, many still in their red and blue track suits.
Canadians played key roles in setting their teams up for the final showdown in the skins.
Oleksiak anchored Energy Standard’s mixed freestyle relay to a win, taking over from High Performance Centre – Ontario training partner Sanchez and out-touching Emma McKeon of the London Roar.
Earlier in the session, Pickrem won the 200-m individual medley in a time of 2:04.85 for London Roar. Sanchez (2:06.37) and Winnipeg’s Kelsey Wog of the Cali Condors (2:07.04) finished third and fourth.
Sanchez added a fourth-place finish in the 100-m freestyle in a time of 51.71, while Pickrem was fourth in the 100-m breaststroke in 1:04.83. The pair tied for the most Grand Finale points among Canadians, tied for 15th overall with 52.
Kylie Masse of the University of Toronto was the other Canadian with a top-four finish Saturday, coming fourth in the women’s 100-m backstroke in 56.55.
Oleksiak was also part of a winning relay for Energy Standard Friday. She and Sanchez teamed with Sjostrom and Femke Heemskerk for a win in the women’s 4×100 freestyle. Friday’s highlights included a second-place finish for Pickrem in the 400 IM, her time of 4:26.55 just 0.13 off the Canadian record.
The league returns in September 2020.