The Rio 2016 Olympic Games have started! This year is the first Olympics for many Canadian athletes, one of them being 16-year-old swimmer Penny Oleksiak. She’s won both Canadian medals so far, collecting bronze in the 4x100m freestyle relay and silver in the 100m butterfly. Penny is the youngest Canadian swimmer competing at the games this year so she’s definitely one to watch out for.
Update: She won her team a bronze medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay and tied for Gold and the Olympic record for the 100m freestyle. She went from 7th to 1st in the last 15m.
10 things you need to know about Penny Oleksiak
On how she started
Penny only learned to swim at age 9 in her friend’s pool. She liked it so much that she started swimming competitively at age 12 and has been racking up medals ever since.
On her height
Penny is 6’1″ and she believes that has definitely helped her in achieving her goals and being able to gain that extra power she needs.
On her workout routine
She trains twice a day, both in the pool and in the weight room. Although she admits that she still can’t do push-ups or chin-ups (still having to be on her knees for push-ups)!
On being in school
She takes her high school classes online now in order to focus on swimming.
On her reputation
She holds the Canadian records in the 50 and 100 metre butterfly as well as the 100 metre freestyle.
On her swim style
What makes her swimming style so unique is her explosive closing speed. She’s able to blow up in the final lap passing all her opponents.
On her active family
Her brother Jamie plays professional hockey for the Dallas Stars and her sister is a competitive rower at Northeastern University. Penny says its great because she always knows she can count on them for support after a bad day.
On her good luck charm
She never leaves home without her grey blankie to bring her luck.
On her inspiration
Michael Phelps definitely remains a prominent icon in her life, also kick starting his career at 15 years old in 2000. “To kind of be in that same place [as a teenager], it makes me happy to think maybe I could be a big name in swimming like him… and do a little bit of what he has done,” she said.
On the Olympics
This marks her first senior international competition. Now she is 16, but she was accepted on the Canadian team at only 15 years old and she blew past any records in her trial times, shaving 1.01 seconds off the Canadian record held by Katerine Savard. Be sure to tune in to watch her compete in the 100m freestyle Wednesday August 10.
Follow her stats.