Oleksiak wins 50-m freestyle, McIntosh qualifies for 5th Olympic event

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For Penny Oleksiak, Sunday’s race served as good practice for her hopes to make another event.

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The Toronto native captured the women’s 50-metre freestyle event at the Olympic and Paralympic Trials in a personal-best time of 25.06 seconds. The time was just over the Olympic qualifying standard of 24.70 seconds.

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On Friday, the seven-time Olympic medallist won the 100 freestyle while just missing the qualifying time, but easily getting under the Olympic consideration time.

Each country can enter a maximum of two athletes per individual event with the deadline to go under the qualifying time at an approved World Aquatics competition being June 23.

“The focus was just to see how good I could get my 50, I’m not a 50 freestyler,” Oleksiak said. “It’s just kind of practice for the front end of my 100. … I still have until June 23 to hit that A cut to swim individually in the 100.

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“So I’m just trying to make that stronger and hopefully I could get that A cut by June 23.”

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Oleksiak can compete in the women’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay in Paris, but there’s no guarantee she’ll race the individual 100 freestyle there.

“If I make the time, awesome, I would love to be a part of that race and see what I could do,” Oleksiak said of the 100 freestyle. “But also, if I don’t, then I’m just stronger for the relays and we can get some medals in those. I’m excited for that, too.”

Athletes with the Olympic consideration times will be invited to compete only if the overall quota of 852 athletes hasn’t been reached after accounting for athletes qualified by way of the Olympic qualifying time, relays and universality.

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Oleksiak also failed to get under both the qualifying and consideration times in the women’s 200 freestyle Tuesday in finishing ninth.

Summer McIntosh qualified herself for a fifth individual event for the Paris Olympics, winning the women’s 200 individual medley.

The 17-year-old Toronto sensation finished with a time of two minutes 7.06 seconds to lead a quartet of swimmers who stopped the clock under the Olympic qualifying time. Sydney Pickrem placed second at 2:07.68.

“I’m pretty happy with it,” McIntosh said of her performance. “Definitely was a little bit rusty on some of my technique things, but that just means there’s more room for improvement in that event.

“The more I swim that, the more I learn and have more experience in it because it is more of a newer event for me and it’s also more a sprinty event, so learning how to work those quick transitions in IM takes a bit of practice, for sure.”

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In the men’s 100 butterfly, Josh Liendo set the field on fire with a second straight Canadian record on the day.

The Markham native followed up his initial Canadian record time of 50.33 seconds in the preliminary round earlier in the day with a 50.06-second showing in the evening final.

Ilya Kharun (51.09) of Montreal and Finlay Knox (51.42) of Okotoks, Alta., also went under the Olympic qualifying time of 51.67 seconds.

It’s the third event the 21-year-old Liendo — who earned silver at the 2023 world championships in the 100 butterfly — has qualified himself for at the Paris Games. He did so on Saturday in the 50 freestyle and on Thursday in the 100 freestyle.

“Just a good trial, as they say, a good trial for the summer,” Liendo said. “I thought I handled it well and yeah, I’m just excited to, obviously, enjoy this for a little bit, but I’m excited to get back into work and try to see what I could do better in Paris.”

In para-swimming, Sebastian Massabie broke his Canadian record in the men’s 50 freestyle in the S4 class. He swam a time of 38.08 seconds to shave 0.4 seconds off his previous mark.

The Surrey, B.C., native also set a new national record in the men’s 200 freestyle with a time of 3:07.00.

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