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Canadian swimmer Penny Oleksiak withdraws from world championships with injury

Canada’s Penny Oleksiak won’t compete at the world championships in July.

The country’s most decorated Olympian revealed Thursday she’d be unable to swim, choosing instead to focus on rehab from left knee surgery last August, in addition to a shoulder injury that developed in the interim.

Oleksiak raced for the first time since surgery in May, competing at the Mare Nostrum Tour in Barcelona but failing to reach a final. The 22-year-old Toronto native called those swims a “checkpoint” for worlds.

“We reviewed my swims there and it showed me the level I want to get back to. Now I need to focus on my rehab to get back to where I want to be and put myself in position to be at my best next season,” she said in a press release.

Head coach Ryan Mallette stated the goal for Oleksiak was to be at the top of her game come July’s worlds in Fukuoka, Japan.

“We just don’t feel like we’re going to be ready to be 100 per cent yet this summer. Our focus is to get her back to 100 per cent as soon as possible to get ready for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games,” he said. 

“Penny has done absolutely everything she can to recover and be ready to go this summer. Unfortunately, due to the timing we just aren’t ready to get there yet.”

At the 2022 world championships, Oleksiak collected four relay medals and placed fourth in the 100-metre freestyle.

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