Women’s 4x100m free wins Canada’s first Olympic medal at Rio 2016

Canada’s first Olympic medal of Rio 2016 arrived on Day 1 at the pool in women’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay, winning bronze.

The team of Sandrine Mainville, Chantal Van Landeghem, Taylor Ruck and Penny Oleksiak – all first time Olympians – delivered for Team Canada at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on Saturday.

Rio 2016: 4x100m freestyle relay team realizes they've won an Olympic medal (Mark Blinch/COC).

Rio 2016: 4x100m freestyle relay team realizes they’ve won an Olympic medal (Mark Blinch/COC).

Oleksiak had only about an hour to recover from her 100m butterfly semifinal, in which she advanced to Sunday’s final for a shot at a second Olympic medal. Both Oleksiak and Ruck are 16-years-old, two of the youngest Olympians on Team Canada born in the year 2000, and are likely the first people born in that year to win an Olympic medal.

Michelle Williams swam the heats for Canada before Oleksiak was brought in for the final.

Australia won gold in world record time, powering through in three minutes, 30.65 seconds, followed by United States at 3:31.89. Canada’s third place time was 3:32.89, edging ahead of the Netherlands for the final medal with Ruck and Oleksiak carrying the last two legs.

Rio 2016: Women's 4x100m freestyle

Earlier in the heats Australia set the Olympic record, a mark their swimmers lowered by 1.26 seconds in the final. The three countries that finished on the podium had also been 1-2-3 in that order in qualifying.

For Canada, this is the first women’s 4x100m freestyle medal since Montreal 1976 when Becky Smith, Gail Amundrud, Barbara Clark and Anne Jardin picked up the same colour hardware at the country’s only summer Olympic Games at home.

Previous to Montreal, Canada won a 4x100m freestyle bronze at Mexico City 1968, the Games where Elaine Tanner found fame adding two individual silver medals to her collection. Tanner’s teammates that year were Angela Coughlan, Marilyn Corson and Marion Lay.