Penny Oleksiak, Brent Hayden Lay Down Fast 100 Frees at Toronto Test Event

Penny Oleksiak; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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Penny Oleksiak and Brent Hayden both turned in quick 100 freestyle Wednesday on Day 1 of the three-day Take5 High Performance Test Event hosted by Swimming Canada.

Oleksiak was just off her seed time in going 53.67 in the 100 free. Second was Maggie MacNeil in 54.06, with Rebecca Smith third and Taylor Ruck fourth. Ruck, with a best time of 53.03, has been provisionally selected to compete in Tokyo in the event. She went 54.76 Wednesday.

Oleksiak also won the 200 free on Thursday, the event in which she provisionally has earned an Olympic place. She went 1:57.54 to beat Ruck by more than two seconds. Third was Emily Overholt.

On the men’s side, Hayden went 49.19, his quickest time since his return from retirement. He had been seeded at 49.51. Second was Yuri Kisil in 49.31.

Both men were faster on Thursday in a relay time trial, in which the men buzzed the national record. The team of Hayden, Joshua Liendo, Kisil and Markus Thormeyer clocked in at 3:13.09, within a second of the 3:12.26 that stands as the national record form the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Hayden led off in 48.47, followed by Liendo (48.28), Kisil (48.03) and Thormeyer (48.31).

The Toronto Test Event, originally slated for earlier in the month, is a chance for swimmers to jockey for position ahead of next month’s Canadian Olympic Trials. It’s a dry run of the event at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. Unlike one held earlier this month, this meet includes not just swimmers based at the Toronto High Performance Centre or clubs in Ontario and Quebec. It also incorporates swimmers like Hayden who train at the HPC in British Columbia.

In other events Wednesday, Mabel Zavaros got the win in the 200 butterfly in what is one of the more open events on the women’s docket. She went 2:12.11 to edge Overholt (2:12.65). Zavaros has been 2:10.18.


Brent Hayden; Photo Courtesy: Swimming Canada

Katrina Bellio staked a claim for a spot in the 1,500, trimming 4.5 seconds to 16:34.99. The 16-year-old Etobicoke swimmer and NAG record holder edged Kate Sanderson in 16:37.69, also a best time.

The women’s 100 fly on Thursday went to MacNeil, who went 56.14, just .31 off her Canadian record. Second was Smith in 58.82 with Kylie Masse in a best time of 58.93 in third. Kayla Sanchez, who will likely contend in both the 100 fly and 100 back, won the latter event in 1:00.43.

On the men’s side, Liendo clocked a best time in the 100 fly at 52.38, trimming .16 off his seed time. He is within .55 seconds of Santo Condorelli’s national record from 2016. Second was Mack Darragh in 54.51. Thormeyer, the only Canadian man provisionally selected to the Games roster, expectedly dominated the 100 back in 53.80.

In other Thursday swims at the Toronto test event, Findlay Knox was quicker than his seed time by more than three seconds to go 1:49.53 in the 200 free. It builds on a strong performance from the 20-year-old three weeks ago. Second was Ruslan Gaziev in 1:49.65. The 200 IM went to Montana Champagne in 2:04.21, more than five seconds slower than Knox’s Canadian mark. Richard Funk was quickest in the 100 breaststroke in 1:01.41, the veteran easily besting Gabe Mastromatteo (1:03.00).

Sydney Pickrem swam neither of her two strong events on the day, leaving the 100 breast to be won by Nina Kucheran (1:09.83) by more than a second over the field and the 200 individual medley to Bailey Andison in 2:12.02. In the 400 free, Summer McIntosh dropped 15 seconds off her seed time to book an A cut in 4:05.13, the 14-year-old coming within 1.7 seconds of Brittany MacLean’s national record. Bellio, her Etobicoke teammate, was second in 4:13.43.