Canadian open water swimmer Philippe Guertin has opted to retire after being denied funding by Swimming Canada.
Guertin, 26, will instead begin an internship at a “prestigious firm,” and cites a troubled relationship with Swimming Canada and its new open water Head Coach Mark Perry as fueling his decision to retire.
“This past year has shown me how Swimming Canada is indifferent to swimming in open water,” he told Le Courrier de Sud (translated from French). “The first few weeks after my patent loss email on September 14th were very difficult. I could have asked for a review of my record, as [Richard] Weinberger did, but after six years of representing the country, fighting to return under the supervision of a coach who did not help open water swimmers did not make sense. My internship in a company where I dreamed to be will be more inspiring.”
Specifically, Guertin opposes Swimming Canada‘s 2018 Pan Pacific Championships selection process for the 10K — he said that of the two Canadians who will swim the race, the first to make the team will be the top 1,500m pool swimmer.
“The current top Canadian swimmer in the 1,500 meters is Eric Hedlin, but I was beating him at all the 10K races, so Perry’s theory is not proven,” he said. “If I were still active, I would be very angry. I can not believe we accept that.”
He also called out Perry’s action at the 2017 FINA World Championships: “After the 10 km of the Worlds, he gave us no feedback, no observation. His vision of open water seems to be limited to the Olympic 10 km.” He added, “Worse, he left before the big event, the 32 km, where several athletes from Quebec and Canada were in action. … Is he the head coach of open water or 10 km?”
Guertin’s retirement comes on the tail of fellow Canadian 10K swimmer Breanne Siwicki‘s November retirement. Siwicki cited “promises broken by Swimming Canada” in her decision.