Swimming Canada has announced some potential plans to restart its high-performance programs, if the COVID-19 pandemic allows, later this year. Among the notable pieces: bringing a larger roster to 2020 Short Course Worlds and running an invitational camp in late August for the nation’s top swimmers.
The tentative plans were part of a Swimming Canada press release today. The release made very clear all plans were contingent on other factors, like when training facilities could safely reopen.
“Our swimmers have missed out on the opportunity to compete at an Olympic or Paralympic Games this year, so we are looking at the next best opportunities to bring them together to bond, train and compete at a high level,” High Performance Director John Atkinson said in the release. “We realize plans may have to change as the global pandemic situation continues to evolve, but we thought it was important to announce what our plans would be. We have been consulting with many of our top athletes and coaches and engaging them in this process, which is based on the best available information that we have right now.”
Here are some of the high points:
Invite Camp, August 25-29: if training facilities can reopen by late summer or early fall, Canada would look to bring together its top open water and pool swimmers for an invitational camp in late August to help reset and kickstart training.
Larger Short Course Worlds roster: Swimming Canada would also look to send more swimmers than usual to the 2020 Short Course World Championships, still on-schedule for December 15-20 of this year.
Paralympic Relaunch Camp, December 5: Swimming Canada has already announced that the Can Am Para Open is still on schedule for December 11-13, and the nation would plan to invite all athletes with a minimum qualifying standard for the 2020 Paralympics to a relaunch camp starting December 5.
Olympic champ, May 2021: Canada would bring together its Olympic team in May of 2021, just as it planned to do in 2020 before the Olympics were postponed.
The full Swimming Canada release is below:
Following the announcement of a revised competition calendar for 2021, Swimming Canada continues to make plans for the potential restart of its national team programs.
Both the Olympic and Paralympic programs are planning for the next major competitions on the calendar being held in December 2020.
If circumstances allow – and depending on the revised qualification system to be announced by FINA – Canada would look to send a larger team than usual to the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), scheduled for Dec. 15-20 in Abu Dhabi.
Looking ahead to the potential of training facilities being reopened by late summer/early fall, Canada would plan to host an invitational camp Aug. 25-29 to bring top open water and pool swimmers back together and reset for the year ahead as they return to their home programs.
Meanwhile, the Speedo Can Am Para Swimming Open remains scheduled for Dec. 11-13, 2020, at the University of British Columbia Aquatic Centre in Vancouver. The Paralympic program would invite all swimmers with a minimum qualifying standard for the Tokyo Games, as well as targeted NextGen swimmers, to a relaunch camp beginning Dec. 5.
“Our swimmers have missed out on the opportunity to compete at an Olympic or Paralympic Games this year, so we are looking at the next best opportunities to bring them together to bond, train and compete at a high level,” said High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson. “We realize plans may have to change as the global pandemic situation continues to evolve, but we thought it was important to announce what our plans would be. We have been consulting with many of our top athletes and coaches and engaging them in this process, which is based on the best available information that we have right now.”
“The Speedo Can Am Para Swimming Open, at the University of British Columbia’s world-class facilities, will provide us with an excellent opportunity to regroup, re-bond, and re-launch our journey to the Paralympic Games,” added Associate High Performance Director and National Para Swimming Coach Wayne Lomas. “I am excited by the chance that a camp and early-season competition will give us as we continue to build our performance and team culture toward ‘Tokyo 2020ne’ ”
Both programs would then look to return to a more typical schedule in 2021, targeting the new Tokyo Olympic Games (July 23-Aug. 8, 2021) and Paralympic Games (Aug. 24-Sept. 5) dates announced by the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee.
Swimming Canada’s rescheduled Olympic and Paralympic Trials have been rescheduled for April 7-11, 2021 in Toronto, to be followed by post-Trials team meetings for both teams. The Canadian Open Water Swimming Trials are now set for April 17-18 on Grand Cayman.
The Olympic team would come together in May 2021 for a team training camp as was planned to be conducted at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre in 2020. In a similar timeframe, the Paralympic team will look to attend a competition that provides an opportunity to race, prepare and perform as a dress rehearsal for the Games.
Dates of departure for both teams to their staging camps in Japan, then transfer into Tokyo for the Games would also mirror the plans that were in place for 2020. Details will be shared in the national team planner documents, which will be released in due course.
Further announcements, including the event order for Trials, FINA and World Para Swimming rescheduling of events, and IOC and IPC qualification procedures, will be made as more information becomes available. From that point, nomination criteria and selection policies for Canadian teams can be updated and released.
“As swimmers and coaches adapt to the new normal, we are staying home to support the amazing efforts from our essential workers across Canada and also around the world. We will at some point move forward from this, so we are establishing plans and goals for what comes next to the best of our ability,” Atkinson said.