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Penny Oleksiak makes history as Canada swims to bronze in medley relay

·2 min read

TOKYO — Canada's women capped Olympic swimming with a bronze medal in the medley relay Sunday and produced a historic seventh career medal for Penny Oleksiak.

Kyle Masse of LaSalle, Ont., Sydney Pickrem of Clearwater, Fla., Maggie Mac Neil of London, Ont. and Toronto's Oleksiak touched in 3:52.60, a Canadian record.

Australia took gold with an Olympic-record 3:51.60. The Americans were close behind, finishing second in 3:51.73.

Oleksiak swam the anchor freestyle leg into the history books as the most decorated Olympian in Canadian history. The 21-year-old surpassed speedskater Cindy Klassen and speedskater-cyclist Clara Hughes at six medals apiece.

Masse led Canada off in backstroke followed by Pickrem's breaststroke leg and Mac Neil in butterfly.

As Mac Neil hung the medal around Oleksiak’s neck, Masse applauded and Pickrem shimmied in celebration.

Mac Neil, 21, also captured 100-metre butterfly gold. She and Oleksiak took silver in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay on the first day of finals.

Masse, 25, earned a pair of silver in backstroke. Oleksiak also claimed bronze in the 200-metre freestyle.

The women's swim team amassed six medals in Tokyo to equal its Rio count of five years ago.

Taylor Ruck of Kelowna, B.C., Pickrem, Mac Neil and Toronto's Kayla Sanchez posted the fastest qualification time in Friday's heats to give Canada a middle lane Sunday.

The medley relay medal was Canada's first since 1988 and fourth in the 61-year Olympic history of race. Canadian women were bronze medallists in 1976, 1984 and '88.

Oleksiak won 100-freestyle gold, 100-butterfly silver and anchored Canada to a pair of freestyle relay bronze medals at age 16 in Rio.

Heats, semifinals, finals and relays added up to 10 races over nine days for Oleksiak in Tokyo, where she added a pair of relay medals and the 200 free bronze to her total.

Oleksiak, Mac Neil and Masse claimed their third medals at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre.

Canada's men's team finished seventh in the medley relay just minutes after the women left the pool Sunday.

Markus Thormeyer (backstroke), Gabe Mastromatteo (breaststroke), Joshua Liendo (butterfly) and Yuri Kisil (freestyle) finished in 3:32.42.

The U.S. took gold in the men's event with a world record 3:26.78. Great Britain came second and Italy captured bronze.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 31, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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