Sports 26 athletes nominated to Canada's Olympic swimming team
Indigenous athletes contend with numerous barriers en route to Olympic qualification
Indigenous athletes and academics say poverty, isolation, health issues, inter-generational trauma from residential schools, cultural barriers and a lack of opportunity are preventing many Indigenous athletes from competing at the Olympics. "By and large, we just don't make it to the international and Olympic levels at the same rate as privileged white people," Desmarais said. The Canadian Olympic Committee says over 300 athletes have qualified to represent Canada at this summer's Olympics in Tokyo.
Following a successful showing at the Canadian Olympic swimming trials in Toronto, Swimming Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) announced the 26 swimmers who will compete at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
The team is made up of 16 females and 10 males.
Reigning Olympic champion Penny Oleksiak headlines a group filled with both youth and experience. Veteran Brent Hayden cemented his monumental comeback by making the Olympic team after a seven-year hiatus away from the pool.
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The 37-year-old Hayden won bronze in the 100-metre freestyle at the 2012 Olympics and will be competing in his fourth Olympic Games as the oldest Canadian Olympic swimmer in history.
There are eight other returning Olympians on the Tokyo-bound squad, including Rio bronze medallist Kylie Masse and Katerine Savard, who will make her third-straight Olympic appearance.
"I trained really hard and honestly, I surprised myself," Savard said. "I didn't believe I had it in me to do everything I did this week. I'm proud of myself and can't wait to see what I can do in Tokyo."
16 of Canada's swimmers are set to make their Olympic debut.
Fourteen-year-old Summer McIntosh was named to the team on Thursday, making her one of the youngest Olympic swimmers to ever compete for Canada.
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"I think the mix of veteran leaders and new faces is awesome," Masse said. "That's kind of how sport works, there are always older and younger athletes, and it's a great dynamic to have. I can't wait to actually be a team and to be together, and to be able to take on Tokyo as Team Canada."
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16-year-old swimmers Katrina Bellio and Tessa Cieplucha were also named to the team after capping off the final evening of the Canadian Olympic swimming trials in Toronto with strong performances.
"It hasn't sunk in yet," Bellio said. "It's incredible to be 16 years old and to be nominated. I've completed my lifelong dream."
184 swimmers from 65 clubs in Canada competed for Olympic spots at the Canadian Olympic swimming trials.
Masse was given the female Swim of the Meet award after breaking her own Canadian record in the 100-metre backstroke with a time of 57.70.
Dressel wins, but Manuel fails to advance in swim stunner
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Caeleb Dressel locked up his spot for Tokyo, where he's expected to be one of the biggest stars in the Olympic pool. Simone Manuel got left behind. In the biggest surprise yet at the U.S. swimming trials, the defending Olympic women's champion in the 100-meter freestyle stunningly failed to advance from the semifinals Thursday night. Manuel, who tied for the gold at the Rio Olympics to become the first Black female ever to win an individual swimming event, finished fourth in the first semifinal heat at 54.17 seconds. She just missed a spot in Friday night's final when five swimmers went faster in the second semifinal heat.
Oleksiak was provisionally nominated to the Olympic team back in January along with Masse, Margaret Mac Neil, Taylor Ruck, Sydney Pickrem and Markus Thormeyer.
Open water swimmers Hau-Li Fan and Kate Sanderson booked their ticket to Tokyo earlier this week following their results at the FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier in Setubal, Portugal.
Swimming Canada's high-performance director and national coach John Atkinson praised the team while recognizing the importance of the announcement following a challenging selection process hindered by the pandemic.
"It's been the longest Olympic year on record. To get to the point that we can name our nominations to the Canadian Olympic Committee is a great step. The athletes who have made the team have shown their adaptability and resilience for the last 15 months and have shown that they are ready to compete with the best in the world," Atkinson said in a media release.
The team will head to Vancouver to complete their Tokyo preparations at the final staging camp at the UBC Aquatic Centre.
Canada's Olympic swim trials get underway after pandemic postponements
The long wait is over for Canada's top swimmers. The Olympic swim trials start Saturday in Toronto's Pan Am Sports Centre after cancellation in 2020 and a pair of postponements in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Now that trials is finally happening, it's really exciting right now," said backstroker Markus Thormeyer of Delta, B.C. The five-day trials without spectators conclude Wednesday, which is a month out from the July 23 opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Swimmers collected six medals in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, which accounted for almost a third of Canada's 22 medals there.
Canada won a total of six medals at the 2016 Olympics, where Oleksiak became the youngest Canadian Olympic champion and the first Canadian to win four medals at one Summer Olympics.
- — Scarborough, Ont.
- — Smiths Falls, Ont.
- — Mississauga, Ont. (women's 1500m freestyle)
- — Oakville, Ont. (women's 400m individual medley)
- — Toronto
- — Trois-Rivières, Que.
- — Mission, B.C. (men's 50m freestyle)
- — Calgary
- — Okotoks, Alta. (men's 200m individual medley)
- — Markham, Ont. (men's 100m butterfly, 50-100m freestyle)
- — London, Ont. (women's 100m butterfly)
- — LaSalle, Ont. (women's 100-200m backstroke)
- — Kenora, Ont.
- — Toronto (women's 200-800m freestyle)
- — Toronto (women's 100-200m freestyle)
- — Halifax (women's 200m breaststroke + 200-400m individual medley)
- — Calgary (men's 100m backstroke)
- — Kelowna, B.C. (women's 100m freestyle + 100-200m backstroke)
- — Scarborough, Ont. (women's 50m freestyle)
- — Pont-Rouge, Que. (women's 100m butterfly)
- — Kelowna, B.C.
- — Red Deer, Alta.
- — Delta, B.C. (men's 100-200m backstroke)
- — Winnipeg (women's 100-200m breaststroke, 200m individual medley)
- — Burnaby, B.C. (open water)
- — Toronto (open water)
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Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles, and Grace McCallum will compete as a team while Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner will compete as individuals at the Tokyo Olympics RELATED: Simone Biles' Floor Routine at U.S. Olympic Trials Included Signature Moves - and a Nod to Tokyo Games Biles, 24, stormed out of the gate as the top contender to nail a spot on Team USA and ended up winning the weekend. While she uncharacteristically fell off the balance beam on Sunday, her place in Tokyo was never really in question after winning four gold medals and a bronze in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.