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Monarch Park Collegiate's Penny Oleksiak Making Big Splash at Olympic Games

Tuesday, August 09, 2016
Categories: Great Things, Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

The youngest member of Canada’s Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro is making the biggest splash so far. Monarch Park Collegiate student Penny Oleksiak has won the hearts of Canadians everywhere as she led Canada to its first two medals at the Rio Games

The 16 year old phenom was a member of the 4x100m freestyle relay swim team that snagged Canada’s first medal at the games—a bronze—on the first full day of competition on August 6. She then followed that up the very next day with a silver in the 100m butterfly, finishing in 56.46 seconds and in the process breaking her own national record set in an earlier qualifying heat. It took only a world record performance by Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom to get past Oleksiak for the gold. 

By winning medals on the initial two days of the Olympics, Oleksiak marked another Canadian first. "I'm just happy that I made Canada proud,” she told CBC afterwards. “Getting to look up into the stands and find my parents, it's just amazing for me and it's such a great feeling." 

Monarch Park Principal Cynthia Abernethy said that the entire school community is bursting with pride over Oleksiak’s accomplishments. “When teachers ask students ‘what did you do on your summer vacation,' I think Penny's story will be the most thrilling,” she added.

Oleksiak is no stranger to international success. In 2015, she won a total of six medals at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Singapore (silver in the 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle, in addition to bronze in the 4x100m freestyle relay, silver 4x200m freestyle relay, and gold in the 4x100m mixed freestyle relay).

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