Penny Oleksiak Withdraws from Pan Pacs; Canadian Team Announced

Penny Oleksiak. Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

Penny Oleksiak will not compete at next month’s Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.

The quadruple Olympic medallist won the 100-m freestyle and 100-m butterfly at this week’s Canadian Swimming Trials in Edmonton. After qualifying for the team, the 18-year-old from Toronto has come to a joint decision together with Swimming Canada’s high performance leadership team, that a break would better allow her to return to her highly rigorous training schedule in September.

“Together we have worked with Penny and her support team to look at a plan for the future. Right now she will be taking a summer break following Trials. The intent is for her to return to training in September so she starts the final two years of the quad refreshed and ready to do the best she can representing herself and Canada,” said Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson.

Oleksiak rose to stardom at age 16 when she won four medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – the first Canadian summer Olympian to ever accomplish the feat. She went on to win four more at the Windsor 2016 FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) and won the Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s top athlete, among many accolades. She followed up with two relay bronze medals at the Budapest 2017 FINA World Championships, and three relay silvers at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, in April.

“Penny has accomplished more at her age than any young swimmer in Canadian history and it’s been a very busy two years since Rio. She is a young woman with incredible potential as we look ahead to the two year push towards Tokyo,” Atkinson said.

Oleksiak joins Olympic medallist Katerine Savard in taking a break from the national team this summer. Atkinson pointed out that it has been a successful strategy in the past for several other swimmers including Canadian Olympic medallist Brittany MacLean, who opted out of the 2015 world championships and returned to win a medal in Rio.

Here is the team

Canada will send 50 of its top swimmers to the upcoming Pan Pacific championships after a successful Canadian Swimming Trials in Edmonton.

The five-day national Trials wrapped up Sunday at the Kinsmen Sports Centre.

The Olympic program side saw 32 swimmers (18 women, 14 men) qualify for the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo Aug. 9-14.

With Commonwealth Games medals to their credit already this year, athletes such as Kylie Masse, Taylor Ruck and Markus Thormeyer are among the names to watch. Meanwhile international medallists including Richard Funk, Kennedy Goss and Emily Overholt will make their returns to Team Canada, joining veterans such as Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson, Yuri Kisil and Kierra Smith.

“I just want to see them all improve on what they’ve done here. If they improve on where they are here we are going to have a good number of athletes make finals,” said Swimming Canada High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson. “Once you are in the final you can have a shot at winning medals.”

Meanwhile, the Paralympic program will send 18 swimmers (13 women, 5 men) to Cairns, Australia for the Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships Aug. 9-13

The Para-swimming team will be highlighted by Paralympic medallists Aurelie Rivard, Tess Routliffe, Katarina Roxon and Nicolas-Guy Turbide, and world record holder Shelby Newkirk, bolstered by youth such as Commonwealth Games medallist Abi Tripp.

“There will be parts of our team that will be super competitive, we are taking world record holders,” said Associate High Performance Director and National Para-swimming Coach Wayne Lomas, who will helm his first Canadian team back in his native Australia.

“We’re not necessarily worried about medal performances. Of course we want them. We want to see athletes that can go faster in Australia than they did here. It shows they are able to continue to progress throughout the summer and they can travel one of the longest flights you will ever do, prepare and then compete away from home and away from their normal trappings.”

Both teams will stay in Edmonton for a two-day mini-camp before departing for their respective staging camps.

“It’s a rehearsal for Tokyo 2020. The staging camp venue in Wakayama is where we will be in 2020. We will have the same support team that will go for 2020 as well. That in itself will be good, they get to know the venue, the hotel. It really is a great opportunity for that rehearsal. Thanks to Own The Podium, Sport Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee we can put together a really good rehearsal this year with everything in place due to their support.”

Pan Pacific Championships Team

Last Name First Name Club Coach of Record
Acevedo Javier AAC Smith Brian
Bagshaw Jeremy ISC Mallette Ryan
Binnema Josiah UBCSC Johnson Tom
Brothers Peter UCSC Blondal Mike
Cote Tristan UCSC Blondal Mike
Daly Owen CAMO St-Jean Claude
Darragh Mack OAK Titley Ben
Fournier Sarah CSQ Pelletier Marc-André
Funk Richard TSC Lamy Pierre
Gaziev Ruslan MAC Novak Rob
Goss Kennedy GGST Westphal Mike
Hanus Danielle ISC Mallette Ryan
Kisil Yuri UBCSC Johnson Tom
Leibel Kyla RDCSC Wilson Scott
Masse Kylie WEST Kiefer Linda
Nicol Rachel UCSC Blondal Mike
Overholt Emily UBCSC Johnson Tom
Padington Mackenzie CRKW Mallette Ryan
Pickrem Sydney ISC Bultman Steve
Pisani William UNCAN Studd Neal
Pratt Alex CASC Johnson Dave
Ruck Taylor SCAR Titley Ben
Sanchez Kayla AAC Titley Ben
Sanderson Kate UNCAN Doane Mike
Seltenreich-Hodgson Erika GO Johnson Tom
Smith Kierra SCAR Kremer Kelly
Smith Rebecca SCAR Titley Ben
Thormeyer Markus UBCSC Johnson Tom
Wall Eli TSC Kiefer Linda
Wog Kelsey UMAN Cerny Vlastimil
Zavaros Mabel OAK Baker Sean
Zevnik Alexia PCSC Holloway Braden


Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships Team

First Name Last Name Club (incl. HPC) Coach of Record
Shelby Newkirk Saskatoon Lasers Kramer, Eric
Abi Tripp Kingston Y Penguins Aquatic Club Keith, Vicki
Aurélie Rivard Centre Haute Performance – Quebec / Neptune Natation Thompson, Mike
Nicolas-Guy Turbide Club Natation Region de Quebec Pelletier, Marc-André
Tess Routliffe Centre Haute Performance – Quebec / Neptune Natation Thompson, Mike
Katarina Roxon Aqua Aces Swim Club Roxon, Leonard
Sabrina Duchesne Rouge et Or  Université Laval Girardin, Johanne
Danielle Kisser Centre Haute Performance – Quebec / Delta Sungod Swim Club Thompson, Mike
Angela Marina Brantford Aquatic Club Langridge, Tom
Philippe Vachon Club de Natation Megophias LaBrie, Charles
Danielle Dorris Club Natation Bleu et Or Allen, Ryan
Matthew Cabraja Cobra Swim Club Roopnarine, Ian
Alexander Elliot Region of Waterloo Witolla, Hans
Morgan Bird CASCADE Johnson, Wendy
Justine Morrier Club Natation Haut-Richelieu Latendresse, France
Sarah Girard Neptune Natation Bruggeman, Jeremy
Tammy Cunnington Nose Creek Swim Association Diep, Alexx
Zachary Zona Centre Haute Performance – Quebec / Norfolk Hammerheads Aquatic Club Thompson, Mike

NOTE: Saskatoon’s Samantha Ryan, a Paralympic finalist and Parapan Am Games medallist, met the standard, but has decided to withdraw from the team. As she prepares to begin her studies at McGill University, she has decided to take additional time at home in preparation for her university life to commence. Two-time Paralympian Camille Berube also declined, due to personal reasons, as did 20-time Paralympic medallist Benoit Huot. The 34-year-old is expecting the birth of his first child this fall and plans to pursue an executive MBA at Queen’s University.

In addition, Swimming Canada has named six swimmers to its team for the World Swimming Championships (25m) taking place in December in Hanzhou, China:

Last Name First Name Club Coach of Record
Darcel Sarah ISC McKeever Teri
Glover Mackenzie UMAN Holloway Braden
Janvier Aela PCSC Gingras Martin
Loginov Oleksandr TSC Macdonald Byron
Wilm Ingrid UBCSC Johnson Tom
Zakala Josh ISC Mallette Ryan

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with Swimming Canada. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact

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3 years ago

Penny has been so good for the sport of swimming in Canada. She’s still so young with a lot of potential. Good for her for taking care of herself ❤