Canadian swimmers are continuing pool party in Rio
Heats were begun by the High-powered women’s team on Day 1 in Tokyo
Five years ago in Rio, the Canadian women’s 4x100m freestyle began the pool party by winning a bronze. Among the current Canadian swimmers, some of them were in Rio that night and they explained it was really important to have victory early.
Since then, Canadian women have been riding throughout the Games. They are going to achieve six medals and the third-most will be achieved by the Canadian swimming team at the Olympics. Inside the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Saturday, on the opening night of swimming at the Olympics, the high-powered Canadian women used their chance to show their stuff.
The third-fastest time of the night belongs to Canada’s 4x100m freestyle relay with a combined three minutes 33.72 seconds, they were only behind the Netherlands and Australians.
The anchor of the team
Penny Oleksiak who is the Olympic champion was the anchor of the team. She managed to swim a strong final 100. After the race, Oleksiak said they had all been very anxious and been waiting for that moment. She added they were all excited to be there and race together. They wanted to show the world what they had got.
The race in the pool started by Kayla Sanchez, then Taylor Ruck followed her and finally Rebecca Smith prepared the stage for Oleksiak’s strong finish.
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Sanchez said those group of special girls had been training together every day for the past year. She said they are enjoying the chance of setting up on the big stage.
Ruck said day in and day out, they pushed each other. They went back to the world junior days.
Tokyo Aquatics Centre
Tokyo Aquatics Centre was empty but there was music as the swimmers competed. Seats were mostly empty but there were some of the team members of the competitors who cheered the swimmers.
Smith said they didn’t even notice that because they were so focused on their own performances. They didn’t really look around but they felt the atmosphere.
Canadian swimming program had been focusing on relays
John Atkinson is Swimming Canada’s high-performance director talked about how great swimming nations had depth and because of that, they performed in the relays.
Oleksiak said she was lucky to train with the relay girls the last few years. She said where one person was not good at doing something, the other girl was. There was always someone pushing you.
The swimmers have always talked about the way they built off one another and felt stronger than ever when they came to Tokyo despite facing restrictions more than any other swimmer from all around the world.
Mac Neil is going to the semifinals
The first Canadian swimmers who went to the Tokyo Aquatics Centre water were Katerine Savard and Maggie Mac Neil. Maggie Mac Neil is 21 years old. She is the 2019 world champion and Canadian record holder. Because of the pandemic restrictions, she decided to leave her training facility in Michigan, and then she returned to Canada early.
She said that was the right call. Her backstroke and freestyle had been improved from the moment she arrived. This is because she had the chance to train with the best in Canada.
Mac Neil’s first race at the Olympics
She said that was not felt real for her, she said she was loving it and that was her first village experience.
The world and Olympic record holder in the 100m butterfly are Sarah Sjoestroem. She managed to win her heat in 56.18. That was the third-fastest time of that night. Tessa Cieplucha managed to finish with a time of 4:44.54 but she is not going to the final. Also, Gabe Mastromatteo could not succeed to advance in the event.