Swimming Canada has begun releasing data on its safe reopening of High Performance Centres across the country.
After just over four months out of the water because of the pandemic, the HPC’s have been up and running since July, with 356 total training sessions held at the centres in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver as of September 30 (along with Victoria, whose facility closed in August as planned).
Overall, that adds up to almost 3,000 individual practice sessions in the pool, with the total over 4,000 including dryland workouts. As of the end of September, there have been zero positive COVID-19 tests from HPC network swimmers.
“We recognize that, while you cannot ever eliminate risk to zero, we can work on maintaining our risk mitigation protocols within our centres,” said High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson. “This shows other university and municipality pools that the proper plans and protocols should allow for the sport to return in their facilities as well.”
According to Swimming Canada, 46 of Canada’s top Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls have been training out of the High Performance Centres this year.
The organization will be releasing a variety of data demonstrating how they were able to resume safely and what practices other facilities can put in place as more pools reopen.
Behind the scenes, several organizations helped swimming get back in Canada, including the National Return to Sport Taskforce led by Own The Podium, and supported by the Chief Medical Officers of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Institut National du Sport du Québec and U Sports.
“This required meetings with all athletes on the requirements of training in their bubble, not training outside of their HPC group, and of course doing daily monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms, and seeking medical advice as required,” Atkinson said.
“Centres reported to the Swimming Canada HPC management assessment group daily for the first three weeks of reopening, and continue to report weekly, or more frequently as close monitoring continues in all centres,” the organization wrote in its release. “Swimming Canada will continue to release further data and details in the coming days. Work continues on an upcoming Version 3 of Return to Swimming Resource Document, in partnership with the provincial sections, which each have province-specific plans.”