TOKYO — Canada has its first medal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after the women's 4x100 freestyle relay team raced to silver.
Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez of Toronto, Margaret Mac Neil of London, Ont., and Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., finished in a time of three minutes 32.78 seconds as Canada picked up a medal in the event for a second straight Games.
Australia won gold in a world-record time of 3:29.69, while the United States finished third in 3:32.81.
Oleksiak swam the anchor leg and narrowly beat out American Simone Manuel at the wall.
"I think it’s kind of crazy," Oleksiak said. "I think we were all hopeful that we would get a medal.
"We didn’t know what medal it would really be. I think we all just wanted one. For it to be a silver, it’s pretty crazy I think.”
Canada's women are looking to duplicate the success they had in the pool at the 2016 Rio Games, where they picked up six medals.
Earlier on Sunday, Mac Neil also advanced to Monday morning's 100-metre butterfly final. The 21-year-old world champion in the event posted the sixth-fastest time in the semifinals.
An hour after qualifying for the butterfly final, Mac Neil drew into the relay lineup for Taylor Ruck who swam the heat for Canada. The women posted the third-fastest time in the preliminaries.
Sanchez led off the final followed by Mac Neil and Smith with Oleksiak bringing the team home.
Oleksiak and Ruck won a pair of freestyle relay bronze medals as 16-year-olds in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.
They teamed with Sandrine Mainville and Chantal Van Landeghem in the 4 x 100 to win Canada's first medal of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Oleksiak also swam the anchor leg in Rio.
Canada's women aim for the podium in all three relays in Tokyo after earning three bronze at the world championship in Gwangju, South Korea two years ago.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 24, 2021.