Red Deer’s Rebecca Smith has won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Smith, 21, alongside Kayla Sanchez, Taylor Ruck, and Penny Oleksiak, finished second with a time of 3:32.78 in the women’s 4x100-metre freestyle relay final at the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, Saturday night.
Australia won the gold medal, finishing with a world-record time of 3:29.69, and the United States took bronze, with a time of 3:32.81.
With the win Oleksiak, who swam the last leg of the race, picked up her fifth Olympic medal. She has joined rower Lesley Thompson-Willie and runner Phil Edwards as Canada’s most decorated Summer Olympians.
“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.”
Smith, a first-time Olympian was the third swimmer for Canada during the relay.
While Smith had originally only qualified to participate in the 4×200 metre freestyle relay on Wednesday, she found out earlier recently that she will also race in the 4x100m relay.
Sandi Smith, Rebecca’s mother, said family and friends were “extremely excited” while watching the race back home in Canada.
“Watching Penny (Oleksiak) at the end, I think we were all screaming at the TV,” Sandi said with a laugh.
Rebecca was able to call back home shortly after winning the medal to chat with her family.
“She was in awe. She was very happy, very surprised and was just trying to take it all in,” Sandi said, adding the Red Deerians have shown her daughter a tremendous amount of support.
“The messages we’ve received and that she’s received have been really great. Even the sign they’ve put up at the (Recreation Centre) for Tammy Cunnington, who’s competing in the Paralympic Games coming up, and Rebecca really shows the community support.”
Rebecca is now getting ready for the 4x200-metre relay on Wednesday.
Canada earned a berth into the final after finishing third in its heat Saturday morning, when Smith and company recorded a time of 3:33.72. Australia was first in their heat with a time of 3:31.73 and Netherlands was second with 3:33.51. China also advanced to the final by finishing fourth with a time of 3:33.72.
In the other qualifying heat, Great Britain led the way with a time of 3:34.04, followed by the United States with 3:34.80, Denmark with 3:35.56 and Sweden with 3:35.93.
The top four teams from each heat advanced to the final on Saturday night, which was Sunday morning in Tokyo.
Canada won bronze in this relay at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
—With files from The Canadian Press