After announcing on Friday that it was closing the High Performance Centre – Ontario temporarily due to a positive COVID-19 test, Swimming Canada reopened things on Tuesday, with “the majority of swimmers” back in the water.
HPC – Ontario is located at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC) in Toronto, and serves as the training base for several of Canada’s top swimmers, including 2019 World Championship medalists Penny Oleksiak, Taylor Ruck, Kayla Sanchez, Rebecca Smith, and for the last few months, Sydney Pickrem.
“Swimming Canada closed the centre Friday due to a positive COVID-19 test, as a precautionary measure in line with the organization’s Return to Swimming protocols, as well as Government of Ontario and City of Toronto health and safety regulations,” the organization wrote in its release.
“The affected individual is receiving ongoing medical advice and monitoring, and a small group of close contacts are self-isolating as per public health guidelines.”
Swimming Canada says the remaining swimmers and staff were deemed to be low risk for exposure based on their adherence to the protocols intact, and were permitted to return to training on Tuesday following a negative COVID-19 test.
“Friday was a very difficult day, but we always knew it was a possibility,” said High Performance Director John Atkinson. “We immediately followed the plans and protocols we have in place. The fact that the there was no transmission in the training environment – either the pool or the strength and conditioning centre – shows our risk mitigation strategies are working.
“I’m glad we were able to get the majority of athletes back into the pool as quickly as possible. This is a testament to our protocols, as well as the protocols put in place by our partners at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre and Canadian Sport Institute Ontario. This all progressed due to the support of Swimming Canada staff and medical experts within Swimming Canada and CSI Ontario.”
Swimming Canada added that a review of the public health situation and how it relates to the safety of the Olympic Trials, which will take place at TPASC April 7-11, will be undertaken before Feb. 15.
The organization also reiterated that it reserves the right to modify or cancel the Trials at any point if it’s deemed unsafe.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience as the situation is constantly changing, and is different in different parts of the country,” said CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “We recognize the heavy impact on all of our athletes. Our preference is to hold Trials if it is safe to do so, but we can’t predict the unpredictable.”
FULL LIST OF HPC – ONTARIO ATHLETES
- Elan Daley
- Mack Darragh
- Jade Hannah
- Yuri Kisil
- Finlay Knox
- Joshua Liendo
- Summer McIntosh
- Penny Oleksiak
- Sydney Pickrem
- Taylor Ruck
- Kayla Sanchez
- Rebecca Smith