Swimming Canada canceled its open water swimming trials, instead outlining an alternate qualification route for its 2022 open water events.
The trials, which were supposed to take place in Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands from November 27-28, were canceled due to COVID-19. The Cayman Islands will remain in Phase 3 of its reopening plans through the end of the year, a phase that requires travelers to remain in quarantine for a minimum of seven days, even if fully vaccinated.
Instead, Swimming Canada will offer spots to compete at the FINA World Championships to swimmers who competed at the 2020 Tokyo Games. Kate Sanderson and Hau-Li Fan competed for Canada in the open water events. The World Championships will take place during the back half of May in Fukuoka, Japan.
All remaining open spots will be filled based on the 1500-meter results at the 2022 Canadian Swimming Trials, taking place April 5-10 in Victoria. The trials will also serve as the selection process for the 2022 FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships, Swimming Canada noted.
“We had hoped to conduct the event in November, but it would not be possible to run an event in the Cayman Islands effectively with all participants needing to quarantine for seven or more days,” said High Performance director and national coach John Atkinson in a press release. “While we looked at other locations with appropriate climate, all came with too much uncertainty to ensure we could run a fair event for all Canadian competitors. Unfortunately we had to make the decision to cancel the Open Water Trials on Grand Cayman.”
The cancellation means that Canada hasn’t swum an open water qualifier since before the 2019 World Championships. A committee selected the four Canadian swimmers for the Olympics open water qualifier in 2020 after the nation’s own Olympic Trials selection-style event was canceled.
By 2022, it will have been close to four years without a chance for a young open water star to break into the competition.
For example, then-18-year-old Raben Dommann competed in the 2019 Championships after qualifying at trials in the 10k, joining his first senior national team after competing at Junior Championships. National team member Chantel Jeffrey had a similar experience that year, earning a spot on the national team after trials and after a history of success at World Junior Championships.
Swimming Canada officials will announce their full alternate selection process in the coming days.