Toronto's Oleksiak headlines Canadian swim team for Commonwealth Games
Canada's Penny Oleksiak competes in a women's 100-meter butterfly heat during the swimming competitions of the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, July 23, 2017. World champion backstroker Kylie Masse and Olympic champion Oleksiak will lead Canada's swim team into the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Darko Bandic
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, September 26, 2017 3:27PM EDT
OTTAWA - World champion backstroker Kylie Masse and Olympic champion Penny Oleksiak will lead Canada's swim team into the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Masse, of LaSalle, Ont., set a world record in the women's 100-metre backstroke en route to gold in Budapest in July.
Toronto's Oleksiak won four medals at last year's Summer Olympics in Rio, including gold in the women's 100-metre freestyle and silver in the 100-metre butterfly.
The Commonwealth Games will be held April 4-15 in Gold Coast, Australia.
Ten of the 26 athletes announced Tuesday by Swimming Canada are under the age of 20, including 17-year-old Oleksiak.
"This is a young, yet dynamic and strong team of athletes who have proven they can perform under some of the most intense pressure at major international meets," Swimming Canada high-performance director John Atkinson said in a statement.
"This event will be another critical benchmark and measuring stick for our team as we continue to build towards the 2020 Olympic Summer Games.
"It will provide our top athletes with another major test, while giving our rookies additional international race experience in a Games environment which will serve us well in the pursuit of our goals in 2020."
Olympic 200-metre backstroke bronze medallist Hilary Caldwell and 17-year-old Taylor Ruck, who helped Canada's women win a pair of relay bronze in Rio, will also swim for Canada in Australia.
Oleksiak recently left the high-performance performance training centre where she's trained for two years to return to her former coach Bill O'Toole at the Toronto Swim Club.