TORONTO, CANADA – The Canadian Olympic team has their first Olympic medal of Tokyo 2020. Canada’s 4×100 meter women’s swim relay team captured the silver medal in the pool on Sunday morning in Tokyo, with a team featuring two U SPORTS student-athletes.
After winning the bronze medal in the event five years ago at Rio 2016, the Canadian women changed the medal’s colour, pushing ahead of the American team in the race’s final moments.
Kayla Sanchez of the UBC Thunderbirds led Canada off in the race, setting the stage for the other three to follow. Maggie Mac Neil swam second before U of T Varsity Blue/Calgary Dino Rebecca Smith took on the third stage.
Penny Oleksiak, 21, who captured Canadian hearts in Rio as a 16-year-old, finished the race with an incredible effort, edging Canada’s way past the USA and into second place. Oleksiak’s final effort put Canada three-tenths of a second ahead of the USA.
“I knew I wasn’t going to touch third. I wanted to win a silver medal for these girls,” said Oleksiak to OBS post-race. “I wouldn’t accept anything else.”
Mac Neil, who swam the 100m butterfly about an hour before the 4x100m, drew in as a last-minute replacement for Taylor Ruck.
With Sunday’s medal, Oleksiak joins an exclusive group of Canadians who have won five Olympic medals. Only Lesley Thompson-Willie and Phil Edwards have reached the five medal mark. Oleksiak, however, has done it all one month after reaching the drinking age in the USA.
Australia finished with the Gold Medal, while the USA picked bronze.
Earlier on Sunday, Montreal Carabins student-athlete Katerine Savard swam to an 8th place finish in the 100m butterfly.
U SPORTS student-athletes and those directly connected to U SPORTS make up nearly a third of the 2020 Canadian Olympic team. University of Toronto graduate Kylie Masse won a bronze medal in Rio and races the Tokyo 100m backstrokes at 6:09 am ET on Sunday.