Swimming Canada’s invitation process for the 2021 Olympic Trials has been temporarily put on pause, a source told SwimSwam on Wednesday.
Following the initial set of invites sent out on Jan. 6, the organization has delayed the process for the time being, for unknown reasons, though athletes tell SwimSwam they believe the ongoing pandemic has led Swimming Canada to re-evaluate its plan.
Swimming Canada has told SwimSwam that further details will likely be announced on Friday.
On Dec. 7, the organization announced a radical change to its Trials format, including the implementation of timed finals and an invite-only field of 20 swimmers per event.
The initial invite list saw the top 20 swimmers in each Olympic event invited, but athletes hadn’t yet had the opportunity to drop any events if they wanted to.
The 2021 Canadian Olympic Trials are scheduled for April 7-11 in Toronto, where extremely strict coronavirus restrictions are currently in place, including a provincewide lockdown beginning on Dec. 26 that runs through until at least Jan. 23.
Because of these restrictions, Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson and CEO Ahmed El-Awadi have reiterated that they reserve the right to cancel or modify the Trials at any time if deemed unsafe. A call has been scheduled for this Friday, where they are expected to provide the country’s top athletes and coaches with an update on planning.
Earlier this month, the country’s High-Performance Centre – Ontario, based out of the Toronto Pan Am Sports Center, which is scheduled to host the Trials, shut down for a few days after an athlete in the training group tested positive for COVID-19.