In an October 2, 2020 press release, Swimming Canada has announced that they will soon be releasing Version 3 of their Return to Swimming Resource Document. The country’s national swimming federation has remained committed to providing the information needed to allow their membership to continue re-opening pools while COVID-19 remains a risk in some parts of the country.
Within the release, CEO of Swimming Canada Ahmed El-Awadi said that “so many provinces, clubs, coaches and swimmers have been following the framework of our COVID-19 Return to Swimming Resource Document, and adapting it to their local needs,” “This has allowed Canadian swimmers to be active, stay fit, and train. That said, with rising COVID-19 numbers in parts of the country, our swimming community must continue to be vigilant and adjust as needed to mitigate the risks.”
Swimming Canada’s High-Performance Director John Atkinson also commented on Canada’s return to swimming thus far, saying “High-Performance Centres, universities and clubs have been able to return safely with the risk mitigation processes we’ve put in place,” “It’s been safe and we see it is working. While cases have been increasing in some parts of the country, all involved in swimming need to continue to follow these safeguards to keep the return to swimming safe and positive.”
According to CTV News, as of October 3, 2020, Canada has had a total of 164,471 cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak and currently has 16,117 active cases. The majority of the cases to date have been in two of the country’s largest the provinces Ontario and Quebec;
|Province / Territory||Active Cases|
|Newfoundland & Labrador||4|
|Prince Edward Island||2|
- The full press release can be seen here.
The first version of the Return to Swimming Resource Document which was released in March has since been updated, with version 2 coming out in July. You can access version 2 of the document here.
The section of the resource document that focuses specifically on the return to training points out 7 key considerations to keep in mind when planning swim practices. These considerations include limiting initial practice group sizes, maintaining physical distancing while on the pool deck, and instilling a buffer period between different groups’ practices to eliminate unnecessary overlap.
Swimming Canada’s push to re-open pools is similar to that of USA Swimming’s efforts to make a return to training and competition. USA Swimming has released several documents over the course of the pandemic aimed at providing their constituents with appropriate resources for returning to swimming;
- 2020 Return To Competition Plan
- 2020 Return To Competition LSC Sanction Requirements
- Facility Reopening Plan Guidelines
- CDC Considerations for Public Pools, Hot Tubs, and Water Playgrounds During COVID-19
- OSHA 3990 Guidelines for COVID-19
- White House Guidelines for Reopening Economy
- Template Waivers
- Pool Diagram Blanks
- NFHS Guidance for Opening Up High School Athletics and Activities
Also actively advocating for a return to the pool has been Swim England CEO, Jane Nickerson. Back in June, following the federation’s release of their own Returning to the Pool guidance, Nickerson detailed her frustration with the lack of re-opening;
“Many will fail to understand how pubs, restaurants, cinemas, museums and hair salons have been given the go-ahead to open on the 4 July but not chlorine-filled swimming pools.
“I share their frustrations and demand that the Government hastily reconsiders this decision to ignore what is a lifeline to so many.
“It appears that it is okay to sit on the couch watching professional sport, go out for a high-calorie meal and then go to the pub but you can’t go for a swim, which provides a sanitized environment.
“Our detailed Returning to the Pool guidance has shown that pools can operate a controlled Covid-19 safe way.
“However, we have been stressing to the Government that facilities need at least two weeks to be able to prepare for reopening so it’s deeply frustrating these pleas haven’t been listened to.”
Since Nickerson’s comments back in June, progress has been made on the pool re-opening front and the country has seen many of its pools re-open. While many still remain closed, however, and COVID-19 restrictions continue to prevent a normal competition season, Swim England has recently announced ‘Level X’ – a virtual swimming competition – in mid-October.
“(It’s) an exciting event which will enable swimmers to compete against others from across the country within the comforts of their own club training sessions,” said SE Sport Development Director, George Wood.