Ajax Swimming Shuts Down Amid CEO’s Sexual Assault Scandal

Following the arrest of CEO and high performance coach of Ajax Swimming, Matt Bell, the club has permanently shut down all operations as of 12:00 a.m Wednesday.

In an email sent to members of the team on Tuesday, Ajax Swimming stated, “the legal, political, financial and practical implications of the events of the last two weeks have made it impossible for the business to continue.”

Bell was arrested Nov. 10 following a three month investigation by the Durham Regional Police sexual assault unit after accusations of an alleged 2011 sexual assault were made against Bell by a former Ajax swimmer in August.

Bell was charged with sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and four counts of luring a person under 18 years.

Just hours prior to the announcement that the swim team would cease operations, Julia Wilkinson announced that she would be resigning as head coach of the program. Swimming Canada suspended Bell Nov. 11 following his arrest, and the suspension had not cleared by the time Wilkinson resigned.

The closure of Ajax Swimming leaves several high profile Canadian athletes without a club at this point in time. The club had five athletes on 2015 LC Identified Teams as part of the National Team Development Program.

According to a source close to story, local teams have been accommodating Ajax swimmers during this time.

This is an ongoing story.


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4 years ago

Maybe the Best Option for those 5 ,Swim Ontario program? A small group with individual attention. Where else would they go. The swim Ontario program is based in the Pan/am
center, so location is also best if they live in the Ajax or Scarborough area.

As for all those other young swimmers some of the better options are to far away, depending
on where they live and the willingness of Parents to travel.

4 years ago

So sad. As part of this team it is devastating for all the swimmers, staff and families. Please be kind in your comments.

Reply to  Cindy
4 years ago

As far as being kind. The facts or what comes out may not be kind .. The fact is that if the Police/Crown have electronic communication between the two parties that back up the charges then Bell has a big problem. They have 4 charges of luring and if they have e-mails between Bell and the kid then he is not in a “Kind” position. He did not make a plea right away saying he was not guilty. Not sure if he has even in Jan. if he has even made a Plea. Because they, Bell & his Lawyer, may be looking at what the Crown has and it may be an ongoing investigation. Unlike the Whitby coach who pleaded… Read more »

here's a thought
4 years ago

Hmm…I wonder if this is something a lawyer suggested…in regards to any potential settlement down the road? I’m sure the owner, would have profited from the club even if he was banned by Swim Canada and during the time he’s awaiting trial…just a thought.

Ajax Proud
Reply to  here's a thought
4 years ago

??? What?! People should not be allow to speculate when they do not know the facts. The club did not want to close down but, had no choice. Speculation and rumours do not benefit anyone.

Reply to  Ajax Proud
4 years ago

No one is speculating AJAX Proud….the above post was “asking” questions – plain and simple. Something I think that you should be doing…asking questions and not jumping on others because they are trying to sort through the mess by asking simple educated questions (sheesh you can’t even ask without backlash from some internet troll). So…why is the club, which has been expressed is or was owned by the accused (not by Ajax proud parents), shutting down…?

About Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile

Mitch worked for 5-years with SwimSwam news as a web producer focusing on both Canadian and international content. He coached for Toronto Swim Club for four seasons as a senior coach focusing on the development of young swimmers. Mitch is an NCCP level 2 certified coach in Canada and an ASCA Level …

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