Swimming-Canada's Oleksiak to miss July world championships with injury

FILE PHOTO: Swimming - FINA World Championships - Budapest, Hungary - June 20, 2022 Canada's Penny Oleksiak reacts after qualifying during the women's 200m freestyle, heat 3 REUTERS/Antonio Bronic/File Photo

(Reuters) - Penny Oleksiak's return to competition from injury proved short-lived as Canada's most decorated Olympian has now pulled out of the July world aquatics championships in Japan, Swimming Canada said on Thursday.

Oleksiak had surgery last August to repair a torn meniscus and competed in last month's Barcelona leg of the Mare Nostrum tour but along the way Swimming Canada said she developed a left shoulder condition.

After Oleksiak's swims in Barcelona, it was determined that it would be best for her to focus on rehabilitation rather than compete at the July 14-30 world championships in Fukuoka.

"The bar that we set was, can she be as good as she's ever been at these world championships? We just don't feel like we're going to be ready to be 100% yet this summer," High Performance Centre – Ontario Head Coach Ryan Mallette said.

"Our focus is to get her back to 100% as soon as possible to get ready for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games."

Oleksiak enjoyed a record-setting Olympic debut in 2016 when, at the age of 16, she became the first Canadian to win four medals at a single summer Games, including gold in the 100-metres freestyle.

She won three more medals at Tokyo 2020 to surpass Canadians Cindy Klassen (speed skater) and Clara Hughes (speed skater/road cyclist) who had each won six medals in their Olympic careers.

After competing in Barcelona, Oleksiak said it was clear she could not get to her preferred level in time for worlds.

"Swimming at Mare Nostrum was a checkpoint for worlds and I gave it my best shot," said Oleksiak. "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."

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ros Russell)

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