There really isn’t a better way to say it: Canada’s swimmers are making a gigantic splash in the early going in Rio.
With three medals in the first three days of competition, and more shots at the podium yet to come, it’s been a remarkable start for Swimming Canada—and the big moments have come from some unexpected sources.
Penny Oleksiak led the way at Olympic Aquatics Stadium over the weekend, energizing the nation with a pair of medals. The 16-year-old raced to bronze with the 4×100 freestyle relay team on Saturday, which consists of Sandrine Mainville, Chantal Van Landeghem, Michelle Williams (who swam in heats) and Taylor Ruck (another 16-year-old), before winning a silver in the 100m butterfly on Sunday.
“It is super amazing,” Oleksiak said after winning individual silver. “I still have a few more years as a junior; taking that time down is going to be fun.”
Then on Monday, 20-year-old Kylie Masse made the most of her first Olympic final, racing to bronze in the 100m backstroke. She had set the Canadian record in that race earlier this year at Olympic Trials.
In all, Canadian swimmers participated in seven finals through the first three days in Rio, with a number of podium near-misses.
RELATED: Oleksiak’s silver in photos
Emily Overholt, an 18-year-old from Vancouver, finished just off the podium in her Olympic debut, posting a fifth-place result in the 400m individual medley final on Saturday.
On Sunday, Brittany MacLean, a 22-year-old competing in her second Games, beat her own Canadian record in the 400m freestyle heats, en route to a fifth-place showing in the final.
The men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team—which featured Santo Condorelli, Yuri Kisil, Markus Thormeyer and Evan Van Moerkerke—had a strong start in Sunday’s final, but ultimately couldn’t overcome the sport’s powerhouse teams, ending up seventh.
Then on Monday, Rachel Nicol finished strong in the 100m breaststroke final to claim fifth place. The 23-year-old from Regina, Saskatchewan was making her Olympic debut after winning bronze in the event at last summer’s Pan American Games.
RELATED: Masse sets Canadian record
With medalists Oleksiak, van Landeghem and Williams already scheduled for more races this week, and the women’s 4×100 medley relay coming up on Friday, there could be even more magic yet to come for Canada in the pool.