Penny Oleksiak Tops WJR in 100 Free (53.31); Ryan Murphy Goes 1:54.94 in 200 Back

Penny Oleksiak made the podium alone and with teammates at the World Junior Champs last year [TV still] and made her mark at Canadian Olympic trials today

Penny Oleksiak added another national record at the Canadian Olympic Trials on Saturday night, going 53.31 in the 100 freestyle.

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Penny Oleksiak added another national record at the Canadian Olympic Trials on Saturday night, going 53.31 in the 100 freestyle.



15 yo who swims 53.33 is insanity. I rate that both of her 100 free/fly swims this week rank her ahead of what Cate and Sarah swam in their respective event at the same age (remember Cate had LZR in 2008 and Sarah had whatever advanced swimsuit in Rome).

By the way, that 53.33 destroyed the Junior world record. Finally, an official junior world record that is as fast as the fastest time swum by a junior.

Ruck got all the hype leading to the trials. There have been reports of an injury, but instead trimming down events because of injury, guess what she did? Yeah, swam as many events as she gets her hands on. This is insanity at a different meaning.


Meanwhile, at the Australian trials prelims, a William Stockwell swam 49.32 in 100 free, almost a second faster than what his dad swam in 1984 Los Angeles. I don’t envy the pressure and expectation on him to swim fast, being an offspring of Tracy Caulkins and Mark Stockwell.


Penny 53.31 was impressive, but what surprised me more is how much muscle she has yet to fill her body.She will get to places…

Craig Lord

No surprise: she’s 15, DDias, the surprise is when there is muscle at that age…


The following curve of progress can hardly be called ‘arc’
Apr 2015 – 55.28 Canadian Trials
Aug 2015 – 54.51 Junior WC
Apr 2016 – 53.31 Canadian Olympic Trials

In contrast with let’s say Weitzeil I found Oleksiak’s splits (25.71 – 27.60) very balanced and reach in potentials. It will be interesting to know where this two seconds of improvement came from and how her splits looked like just one year ago. It can give some idea where she is heading and if we can see her under 53 in the nearest future.

Kevin Brewin

I believe she just turned 15 at the beginning of the year. And she didn’t even start swimming until she was 9.

She is tall and lanky (her brother plays professional hockey and is 6’7″ or 6’8″), and will be someone to watch out for as she continues to mature physically.

She has improved immensely in the last year working with Ben Titley at the High Performance Center in Toronto. The environment there seems to be definitely working for her.

Craig Lord

Kevin, she has a June birthday, she will turn 16 before Rio.

Dan smith

aswimfan yes I was surprised Taylor ruck took on such a schedule before the trials and before I even knew she was injured. 50-800 free and 100/200 back is insane. But she still continued with that schedule even after what’s said to be a neck injury

Penny oleksiak is also a good backstroker but skipped the 100 back. She may still swim the 200 back and drop time at the trials. Who knows

Oleksiak is a freestyler/butterflyer/backstroker in that order ie in order of strongest to weakest events. So Penny oleksiak is like sjostrom the difference being sjostrom is stronger in butterfly.

Ruck is a backstroker/freestyler in order of stronger and weaker event. Ruck is like Franklin.

And I agree oleksiak has some muscle to fill. I just found out that she,s 6,1 in height at 15. So she,s got the height.

Kevin Brewin

Thanks for info on her age. Then her wiki page must be wrong since it says Jan 1.


Oleksiak is able to split 27.60 on the way home because she is also an excellent 200 freestyler (she qualified second in the trials). Missy Franklin was also able to split 27.31 at 2011 Shanghai at the age of 15.
Unless Weitzeil makes improvement curve similar to Campbell sisters, I don’t know how she’s going to split 27mid without sacrificing front end speed too much. Weitzeil is throughly a 50-100 sprinters, and I don’t know her LCM 200 free time. If you do, please share with us here.

Craig Lord

No problem – yes, it is wrong Kevin (very many swim references on wiki are wrong – or info simply missing altogether).


“The fact that the medal hunt in Rio will include the likes of Sarah Sjostrom, Campbell sisters”
A bit premature given the form of McKeon and the injuries to Bronte of late. Emma was 53.3 at NSW state a few weeks ago and making big strides in each of her races so far at the trials. I smell an upset brewing.


I’d have to agree with the previous commenters with regards to Ruck’s schedule if, indeed, she is carrying injuries. Inexplicable !!

An outstanding time from Oleksiak; am not going to engage in any hypothesis with regards to any Rio prospects until we see how the wider “Trials Season” pans out.

It certainly seems that the event is taking at least one step up with regards to overall pace with a few more entering the sub53.5 range.

I will agree with Commenter that the AUS W100free is NOT “cut n dried”. Whilst its a fairly sound bet that C1 will be sub53; there is reasonable doubt that C2 is currently in that shape.

IF she swims 53flat/sub 53.2, then she’s probably safe; anything slower and McKeon certainly enters the equation.

John Lohn

Yozhik, I maintain what Oleksiak did does qualify as an arc in that if you take her three rested meets which you reference, there is steady development…an arc. Regardless, she is going to be enjoyable to watch.


John, the word ‘arc’ is strongly associated in my mind with geometric forms that are curly, smooth and as one friend of mine likes to say – sexy 🙂
Whatever Oleksiak doing is like trajectory of rocket launch. Sure it is all a matter of taste, don’t take it seriously 🙂


@John Lohn: What more interesting to know about 100m freestyle race is the following stats that can be used as a benchmark to measure Oleksiak style and prospectives.
Take let’s say best 30-50 best ever times at this distance and compose best five rankings at first half and at second one. These two lists will draw the picture of what type of swimmers match this distance better, what group of racing styles the swimmer of interest belongs to and based on such parallels what her potentials would probably be.

Craig Lord

We won’t be doing that Yozhik (the 30 to 50 best etc) – we have all that info but, as you can imagine, we’re rather busy, it being trials season 🙂 However, I will say this: such paper exercises, while adding to the picture, must be taken together with how the swimmer swims, how the swimmer is looking in warm up at the meet in question, how they look through the rounds… that often gives you a far better idea of who is on and who is not – feel, buoyancy, flow. Meanwhile, there is a limit to how far anyone can let a Campbell or a Sjostrom or a Kromowidjojo (all capable of bringing it home well inside 53) get ahead of them down the first lap … Ledecky will never beat the best pace of Cate Campbell, for example, neither down one lap nor 2, I believe. That limit varies depending on the individual traits of the swimmer. For example, Bob Bowman worked out – and told Mr Phelps – that Milorad Cavic could not be X (I think it was 0.37 but would have to look it up to confirm) ahead of Phelps at the turn if he was to win. I think Phelps was about 0.3 or so inside the mark and at that stage, Bowman knew not that his charge would definitely win but knew it was game on.


Sure, Craig. I understand that it is time consuming job. Unless there is strong motivation like curiosity of finding some patterns or getting paid why should you try to satisfy everybody’s whims. Dropping 2 seconds during one year, moving from just another promising youngster to the Kromowidjojo level is immediately raising the question: who are you Penelope Oleksiak? Despite such strong progress her splits do not show any extrims. Is it new Ledecky who has something up her sleeves? That is why I wanted to rank her current style against the historical best splits.
I understand that other factors mentioned by you are also playing some roles, but splits is the first step to approach the problem. There is some biological reason why 50m champ is not automatically the best at 100. Historical ranking by splits can help with understanding of this fact.

Happy trial season 🙂

Craig Lord

I think, Yozhik, you must look at her height, her skills, her talent and her age – and then look at the coach Ben Titley and know he knows what he’s doing – he coached Fran Halsall, Mel Marshall and many others. There will be more to come on the story and the detail of it all but not in trials season… too much to do 🙂


I’m looking forward to read it. It would be nice to know about her family as well. Kevin Brewin had already mentioned her giant hockey player brother. She has very common Ukrainian surname in combination with rarely met in nowadays first name. I always wonder about family traditions when they give their children Homer’s names: Venus, Serena, Penelope.

John Lohn

Nothing serious, Yozhik. Just wanted to clarify that the term here is also used to describe a path of upward movement.

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