This post was written by SwimSwam contributor Kiersten Wollenzien.
Central Ontario club swim teams are gearing up to begin the season minus one key aspect: a championship pool. The Etobicoke Olympium, which regularly serves as a central hub for the region, was shut down in June in preparation for the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games and will be shut down for the entirety of the 2013-2014 season.
The pool is scheduled to be shut down from June 2013 (originally July) to July 2014 which means meets will need to be scheduled elsewhere or cancelled altogether. The Olympium typically hosts close to ten swim meets per season that will either have to find another home for the season or will not be run at all.
In the near future, the problem will be alleviated, with the renovations to the Etobicoke pool plus the brilliant new pool on the University of Toronto Scarborough project (the largest ever investment in amateur athletics in Canada), capacity in the area will soon be more than sufficient to support a thriving swimming scene.
But for now, with the Olympium shut down the region does not have another pool that has sufficient deck space for the number of swimmers that attend the championship meets of the region. At the moment there is not a plan for where these meets will be held, but the search for the pool to host is still in progress.
Teams in the region now have two choices: either cut down their meet schedule substantially or battle with one another to try to compete at meets that they usually do not attend outside of their area. The second choice comes at more of a cost to the teams themselves as well as the swimmers’ parents, which may affect the smaller teams of the region more so than the larger teams.
When the pool was shut down in June, three weeks before its original shut down date, swimmers were denied two scheduled meets and opportunities to qualify for provincial and national meets that were held later in the summer. This will be the same problem for swimmers in the central region this season that will have fewer chances to qualify for regionals, provincials, or nationals. This could mean more tapering for these athletes before meets or it could mean the same game plan with more pressure each meet.