Canadian Olympic Trials, Day Five Finals: Penny Oleksiak Wins 100 Freestyle; Ilya Kharun and Sydney Pickrem Excel

Canadian Olympic Trials, Day Five Finals: Penny Oleksiak Triumphant in 100 Freestyle

Thanks to a world record in the 400-meter individual medley from Summer McIntosh a night earlier, the fifth finals session at the Canadian Olympic Trials faced a difficult act to follow. And while the night didn’t match the excitement from the previous day, there were several strong performances at the Pan Am Sports Centre. Here is a breakdown of what transpired during the fifth night of competition.

Women’s 100 Freestyle

Penny Oleksiak, who shared the 2016 Olympic title in the 100 freestyle with American Simone Manuel, was victorious by a narrow margin over Mary-Sophie Harvey. Oleksiak checked in with a time of 53.66, which was quicker than the 53.71 of Harvey, but off the Olympic-qualifying standard of 53.61. Oleksiak went out in 25.76 and held off a late charge by Harvey, who placed second ahead of Brooklyn Douthwright (54.33).

Men’s 200 Backstroke

Blake Tierney established a Canadian record in the 200 backstroke as his winning effort of 1:56.74 was quick enough to qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris. More, Tierney set a national record, with his time bettering the 1:56.96 of Markus Thormeyer from the 2019 World Championships. Tierney was in control from the start, going out in 56.55 for the opening 100 meters.

Tierney was followed to the wall by Hugh McNeill, who posted a swim of 1:58.49.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke

Canada will send a pair of athletes to the Paris Games in the 200 breaststroke after Sydney Pickrem and Kelsey Wog engaged in a dynamic duel. Pickrem overcame a half-second deficit on the closing length to prevail by the slimmest of margins, 2:23.79 to 2:23.80. The qualifying mark for the Olympics was 2:23.91.

While Pickrem held the lead after the first 50 meters, Wog moved into first place by the midpoint of the race and maintained that advantage through the 150-meter mark. But Pickrem had a little more over the closing 50 meters, enough to grab a tight victory and land a Paris invitation.

Men’s 200 Butterfly

As expected, Ilya Kharun dominated the 200 fly, winning by nearly five seconds. The Arizona State University standout earned the top seed for the finals and backed up his status with a victorious swim of 1:54.41. That effort was well clear of the 1:59.14 by runnerup Kevin Zhang.

Just off the podium in the 200 fly at the 2023 World Championships, Kharun figures to contend for a medal in Paris. En route to qualifying for the Olympics, Kharun went out in 25.28 and came through the 100-meter mark at 54.28. He split 1:24.25 for 150 meters and further expanded his lead over the last lap.

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