Swimming Canada Proposes Removal of SC Qualifying Times For National Meets

As part of Swimming Canada’s new Competition Framework Improvement Plan many major changes appear to be coming to swimming in Canada as early as the 2016-17 season.

Note: No changes have been finalized all new plans are still under review.

One of the bigger changes is the removal of short course qualifying times for any Swimming Canada competition. This change is a result of the overall goal of the plan, which is to have two peak performance periods from March-April and July-August, with the other portions of the year containing “prep” meets.

Traditionally the short course season has taken place from September until February, with many short course championship meets taking place in February such as the Eastern and Western Canadian Championships, Provincial Championships, and the CIS (Canadian University) Championships, among others.

However, there appears to be some changes coming. In the Executive Summary of the main document, section 2.4 Key Improvements #2 states: “No Short course times to be used for qualification to any Swimming Canada competitions”. 

In the corresponding Question & Answer Document the situation is explained in more depth. Question 15 asks: “What can short course qualifying times be used for?”, with the answer stating: “Short course times would still gain the swimmer entry into provincial championships (as determined by the province), other provincial competitions and/or club meets”.

So short course times can still be used to qualify for provincial championships, but not for any national competitions.

Question 17 then asks “What is the qualifying window for all Swimming Canada national competitions and can a swimmer qualify with short course times as well as long course times?”, with a complicated response indicating the ‘Peak Performance’ window will slowly be phased in so athletes can adjust to the changes.

“Starting in 2017, only long course qualifying times from 2016 and 2017 (entire season) will be permitted for qualification up to the entry deadline Starting in 2018, only long course qualifying times from 2017 (entire season) and 2018 Peak Performance windows will be permitted for qualification up to the entry deadline Starting in 2019, only long course qualifying times from 2018 and 2019 Peak Performance windows will be permitted for qualification up to the entry deadline”.

Qualification for the 2017 championship meets can be made throughout both the 2016 and 2017 season, and qualification for 2018 can be made throughout the 2017 season or the 2018 Peak Performance windows. 2019 will be when the Peak Performance windows take full affect, as only times swum in the 2018 and 2019 windows can be used for qualification.

Question 21 then goes on to ask about whether there’s been any consideration to include short course qualifying times for the National and Junior National Championships to be held in the summer. “Has there been a consideration to include Short Course (SC) time standards for the Canadian Junior Championships and Canadian Championships held in the summer?“.

The answer stresses that the focus of the summer should be on long course racing and therefore a swimmer needs to have achieved a qualifying standard in long course in order to compete. “The focus of the summer should be on long course racing and therefore all swimmers need to have a long course qualifying time to participate in Swimming Canada’s competitions. Long course times from previous season will be eligible for qualification and there will also be multiple competitions in the summer Peak Performance window that will meet the needs of all swimmers (Provincial Championships, Canadian Junior Championships and Canadian Championships)”.

Short course meets will still be run from September to December, and later if needed (depending on location and availability of long course pools), but will be meant to develop skills and race strategies rather than shave and taper for best times and national qualifications.

Find the full document here, the question and answer document here, and our general summary of all of the changes here.


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Because, you know, all national and international swimming competition occurs only in 50m long course pools…..

Success or bust

The impact of this amazing new plan will be interesting to track. Refusing to accept SC times for Nationals and Trials will be no problem for swimmers from major centers, no problem for the top 1% of our swimmers (no one at SNC appears to be interested in the other 99% – many of whom won’t ever get to a Nationals or Trials meet). Removing the SC entry opportunity will not have any positive impact on swimming – it will just further reduce the number of swimmers attending meets hosted by Swimming Canada. There’s no way of knowing for sure if the changes are being driven by Sport Canada funding requirements, I suspect they are, but the impact on many… Read more »


The problem here is that without showing pathways for those remaining 99.9% of swimmers nationwide, we’ll likely lose many before they can reach full potential. I believe it’s more than just having less swimmers attending Swimming Canada hosted meets and that we’ll see less teenage swimmers overall in the sport. Smaller clubs means less resources (money for pool time, coaches, training tools, overhead, etc.) available to competitive swimmers. I have spoken with a few coaches about these changes and there was absolutely nothing positive that they had to say about this directive.


Silly, stupid, natation Canada

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James formerly competed for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in February of 2018, placing 11th at the OUA Championships in the 200 IM, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics in May. He …

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