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Jamie Oleksiak's sister shining in spotlight at Rio

Stars defenseman didn't expect Penny to win three medals swimming for Canada at her first Olympics

by Pat Pickens @Pat_Pickens / Staff Writer

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Dallas Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak always knew his sister Penny was a great swimmer, but it wasn't until he watched her at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics that he realized she was one of the best to represent Canada.

Penny, 16, has won a silver and two bronze medals in her first trip to the Olympics. On Wednesday, she became Canada's first three-time swimming medalist since Anne Ottenbrite won three at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

"It would have been easy for her to go to the Olympics and just get her feet wet, but she came in and was dominant," Jamie Oleksiak, 23, told from Brazil. "Was I expecting that? No, but she's got that competitive nature."

Penny is the youngest of three Oleksiaks; her sister, Hayley, is a junior at Northeastern University and is on the rowing team. When Jamie left home in Toronto to pursue his hockey career at 14 years old, Penny was just learning how to swim.

Nine years later, Penny's swimming career has taken off. She set a junior world record and a Canadian record in the 100-meter butterfly Sunday with a time of 56.46, winning a silver medal. She helped Canada win a bronze medal as the anchor of the 4x100-meter and 4x200-meter freestyle relays.

Tweet from @jamieoleksiak: I don't even know what to say right now, that was one of the most intense and amazing things I've seen ������������

"My brother and sister have had my back since the day I started swimming," Penny told TSN on Monday. "They've both taught me a lot throughout my five, six years of swimming. They're here today, and just looking up in the stands and getting to see their reactions is a great feeling."

Penny equaled Ottenbrite and Elaine Tanner, who won three bronze medals in Mexico City in 1968, for most swimming medals in one Olympics by a Canadian.

Penny can surpass them by medalling in the 100-meter freestyle final, to be held Thursday.

Penny's success has not come at the expense of her presence on social media; she's remained active on Twitter and Instagram, often to the amazement of her family members.

Tweet from @OleksiakPenny: May or may not have prayed to the 6ix god before my race last night..�� #worthit #torontopride

"Penny is, for lack of a better term, a freak," Jamie said. "She's 16 years old and she's got that young woman in there, but then you see her goofing around and texting and tweeting before a race, and you just want to shake her.

"But then she gets to the pool, and you see how focused she is. She's focused and at ease. It's real impressive."

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