Swimming news courtesy of Deaf Swimming Canada.
The Canadian Deaf National Swimming Program is pleased to announce that the Canadian Deaf National Swimming Team will be competing together at a Swimming Canada event for the first time at the upcoming Speedo Western Canadian Open to be held in Winnipeg, February 18-21, 2016.
The Speedo Western Canadian Open is a Swimming Canada regional hearing competition that brings together Canada’s senior, youth and junior swimmers. Swimmers must meet qualifying standards in order to participate at this competition – standards that are often difficult for deaf/hard of hearing to reach. Swimming Canada has graciously set aside these standards for one deaf/hard of hearing competitor to allow the Deaf National Team to participate in 5 relays.
This marks the first time that the Deaf National Team has participated together at a Swimming Canada event. Deaf National Team Coach Judy Baker is delighted to have this opportunity to bring her team together at a national hearing competition. “I would like to thank Swimming Canada and their officials for making this possible. We are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to be a part of this high level competition.”
Swimming Canada, Swim Manitoba and the Manitoba Swim Officials Association will be working together to ensure that starting procedures will be in place for the deaf/hard of hearing athletes. This will involve a hand signal for “take your marks” and a strobe light for the start of the race. “Swim Manitoba and the Manitoba Swim Officials Association really lead the country in accommodating deaf/hard of hearing swimmers at hearing competitions”, said Coach Baker. “We appreciate all their efforts in moving these accommodations forward at a national level.”
Deaf and hard of hearing athletes often face barriers, however swimming is especially challenging as assistive devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants generally cannot withstand the many hours competitive swimmers spend in the water. “Effective communication is key to an athlete’s development. These swimmers have had to overcome so much to be here,” noted Coach Baker.
The Deaf National Swimming Team recently represented Canada at the 2015 World Deaf Swimming Championships in San Antonio, Texas, where they set 2 new Canadian Deaf Records, had 8 top ten finishes and over 75% best times. While the Team has participated in international events such as the World Deaf Swimming Championships and the Deaflympics, they have never swum together as a Team at a Swimming Canada event. National Team members Baerg (BC) and Osborn (MB) have competed at Westerns in previous years. This marks the regional level debut for Van Wyk (ON) and Panetta (ON).
For more information about the Canadian Deaf National Swimming Team, please visit: