Brent Hayden, 37, and 14-year-old Summer McIntosh Headline Canadian Olympic Team

Summer McIntosh-Olympic Swimming Trials-f-20june2021Photo Scott Grant
Summer McIntosh; Photo Courtesy: Scott Grant/Swimming Canada

Swimming Canada has nominated 26 swimmers to the Canadian Olympic Team for this summer’s Tokyo Games, following its Olympic Trials this week. The list includes a return to a fourth Olympic Games for Brent Hayden and a debut for 14-year-old Summer McIntosh.

The group of 26 includes 16 women and 10 men. Six swimmers were provisionally nominated in January in specific events, and the rest came from Trials, conducted over the last five days at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

Brent Hayden-Olympic Swimming Trials-f-21june2021Photo Scott Grant

Brent Hayden; Photo Courtesy: Scott Grant

The group includes reigning Olympic gold medalist Penny Oleksiak and world champions Maggie MacNeil and Kylie Masse. Hayden is making his fourth Olympics and first since 2012 following a seven-year retirement. Katerine Savard is in her third straight Games.

Thursday’s announcement of the Canadian Olympic team did not include specific events for each swimmer. Swimming Canada did release each swimmer’s qualified events with its provisional nomination list in January. But in certain events where more than two swimmers have FINA A cuts – the men’s and women’s 100 free are among those – Swimming Canada has latitude to determine who will qualify. They also have to balance the requirements of six qualified relays – all three women’s relays, plus the men’s 400 free and medley relay and the mixed medley relay.

High Performance Director John Atkinson said those conversations are ongoing with coaches and swimmers. He’s anticipating that swimmers will be informed late Thursday or Friday, with a public release of that information soon after.

“We’ve already been talking with coaches and swimmers about the invent mix and jigsaw they have to look at through the competition,” Atkinson said on a Zoom call Thursday. “You can imagine nine days with six relays, and while we may not have 30 or 40 swimmers on the team, we have a very busy schedule for the athletes that are there. …  We’re already working with coaches and with athletes and looking at where the athletes are at, and we’ve had those conversations.”

Masse, Oleksiak, Javier Acevedo, Taylor Ruck, Kierra Smith, Sydney Pickrem and Markus Thormeyer were all part of the delegation to Rio four years ago. Sixteen of the Olympians will make their debut.

All nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee. The team will arrive in Vancouver on July 3 to train at the University of British Columbia, in lieu of a staging camp in Japan. They will travel directly to Tokyo on July 16 ahead of competition beginning July 24.

That change is one of several challenges that Team Canada’s chef de mission Marnie McBean and her team is handling. Their process has been in the works for months.

“As the information is coming out, for the athletes and the playbook, it’s a lot, as it always is for the Olympics,” McBean said. “The athletes and the swim coaches, they need to be focusing on their times and their performances in the pool. We don’t need them to be experts on what’s going to be the protocol going in because there’s professionals developing that. And now there’s a handover, as there has been for a long time, from the administration of Swimming Canada and all of our sports.”

Atkinson highlighted several challenges Thursday. Canada was the latest of the world’s top 20 swimming nations to return to the water due to COVID-19. It was the last major swimming to stage Trials and one of the only to resort to an explicitly hybrid selection system.

But thanks to the resilience and adaptability of the athletes, his expectations for the Canadian Olympic team in Tokyo aren’t dimmed.

“It’s a short turnaround for us this time,” Atkinson said. “We’re going to be ready to improve and see every athlete that goes over there, post times that are faster than in qualification. We’re not going there just to take part. We are going there to challenge for medals, but we don’t put any specific target on that.”

Canadian Olympic Team

  • Javier Acevedo, Toronto, Ont., Ajax Aquatic Club, Jack Bauerle
  • Bailey Andison, Smiths Falls, Ont., Perth Stingrays, Ray Looze
  • Katrina Bellio, Mississauga, Ont., Etobicoke Swimming, Rob Novak
  • Tessa Cieplucha, Georgetown, Ont., Markham Aquatic Club, Sean Baker
  • Ruslan Gaziev, Toronto, Ont., Etobicoke Swimming, Rob Novak
  • Mary-Sophie Harvey, Trois-Rivières, Que., CAMO, Claude St-Jean
  • Brent Hayden, Mission, B.C., HPC-Vancouver, Tom Johnson
  • Yuri Kisil, Calgary, Alta., HPC-Ontario, Ben Titley
  • Finlay Knox, Okotoks, Alta., HPC-Ontario, Ben Titley
  • Josh Liendo, Toronto, Ont., HPC-Ontario, Ben Titley
  • Margaret Mac Neil, London, Ont., London Aquatic Club, Rick Bishop
  • Kylie Masse, LaSalle, Ont., HPC-Ontario, Ben Titley
  • Gabe Mastromatteo, Kenora, Ont., Kenora Swimming Sharks, Byron MacDonald / Linda Kiefer
  • Summer McIntosh, Toronto, Ont., HPC-Ontario, Ben Titley
  • Penny Oleksiak, Toronto, Ont., HPC-Ontario, Ben Titley
  • Sydney Pickrem, Halifax, N.S., HPC-Ontario, Ben Titley
  • Cole Pratt, Calgary, Alta., Cascade, Dave Johnson
  • Taylor Ruck, Kelowna, B.C., HPC-Ontario, Ben Titley
  • Kayla Sanchez, Toronto, Ont., HPC-Ontario, Ben Titley
  • Katerine Savard, Pont-Rouge, Que., CAMO, Claude St-Jean
  • Kierra Smith, Kelowna, B.C., Kelowna AquaJets, Emil Dimitrov
  • Rebecca Smith, Red Deer, Alta., HPC-Ontario, Ben Titley
  • Markus Thormeyer, Delta, B.C., HPC-Vancouver, Tom Johnson
  • Kelsey Wog, Winnipeg, Man., University of Manitoba Bisons, Vlastimil Cerny

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Canadian Olympic Open Water Team

  • Hau-Li Fan, Burnaby, B.C., HPC-Vancouver, Brad Dingey
  • Kate Sanderson, Toronto, Ont., HPC-Vancouver, Brad Dingey

Canadian Olympic Team Staff

  • Team Leader, John Atkinson, Ottawa, Ont.
  • Assistant Team Leader, Iain McDonald, Ottawa, Ont.
  • Team Manager, Janice Hanan, Victoria, B.C.
  • Head Coach (Pool), Martyn Wilby, Ottawa, Ont.
  • Head Coach (Open Water), Mark Perry, Ottawa, Ont.
  • Team Coach, Vlastimil Cerny, Winnipeg, Man.
  • Team Coach, Dave Johnson, Calgary, Alta.
  • Team Coach, Tom Johnson, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Team Coach, Ryan Mallette, Montreal, Que.
  • Team Coach, Ben Titley, Toronto, Ont.

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