Sydney Pickrem, Patrick Waters to Lead Canada High Performance Athlete Council

Swimming Canada has announced its 2022 High Performance Athlete Council.

According to Swimming Canada, “the purpose of the COuncil is to act as a communication conduit between Swimming Canada and High Performance Swimmiers. Council members are tasked with providing constructive feedback to the organization, and to make best efforts to represent the interests of all High Performance Swimmers with the goal of furthering the strategic objectives…of Swimming Canada.”

“I’m looking forward to engaging with this group of dedicated high performance swimmers and working together to achieve the mandates of the council,” said CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “Our Board of Directors is committed to hearing from our athletes. The Athlete Council is one avenue that supports this construction of a solid framework for dialogue and understanding between all of our stakeholders. It also provides swimmers with a deeper insight into how organizations are run and can help our athletes further develop their life skills.”


The 2022 committee includes 7 women and 3 men, reflective of the current balance of power in Canadian swimming: Canadian women won all 6 of the country’s Olympic medals in swimming and 5 of the 6 Paralympic medals in swimming in 2021.

The 9-swimmer council is required to include:

  • 3 swimmers elected by popular vote among their peers,
  • 2 Olympic Program swimmers recommended by the High Performance Director from the previous year’s Senior National Team,
  • 2 Paralympic Program Swimmers recommended by the Associate High Performance Director, Paralympic Program from the previous year’s Senior National Team,
  •  1 Open Water Swimmer recommended by the High Performance Director from the previous year’s Senior National Team, and
  • 1 “individual with a specific skillset identified and appointed by the CEO.”

The CEO is also able to appoint a 10th member of the council as a liaison.

Among different administrative requirements, which include no violations of the WADA code, eligible athletes must have achieved Senior National/International Carding status in at least one of the previous five years, or most have competed in the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, World Championships, Pan Pacs, Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games, or Parapan American Games in the prior 5 years.

One Co-Chair annually comes from the Olympic Swimming Program, and 1 comes from the Paralympic Swimming Program.

Athletes must be 18 to serve on the council, but those under 18 who meet the high performance standards are eligible to vote.

The 2022 Co-Chairs are Sydney Pickrem and Patrick Waters.

Pickrem is a two-time Canadian Olympian and the Canadian Record holder in the 200 IM in both long course and short course, plus the 400 IM in short course. She has four bronze medals from the World Aquatics Championships (three in individual races), and is a two-time World Short Course Champion from 2021 (200 IM, 800 free relay). She was also on Canada’s bronze-medal winning 400 medley relay at the Tokyo Olympics, swimming the breaststroke leg in both prelims and finals.

Waters has been a member of the Canadian National Team since 2018. He’s the Canadian Record holder in the men’s 200 breaststroke in the SB9 classification. He won a silver medal in the SB9 100 breaststroke at the 2019 Parapan American Games.

“I’ve been an athlete with Swimming Canada for a long time now, so I think I can add a voice to help move the organization forward with improving communications and processes with the national team athletes,” Waters said. “What we really want is a council that will have some succession planning in place so that it’s not just a year-by-year process. We need steps along the way to establish those checkpoints, and that’s our main priority as a council.”

The council had its first meeting on March 9 and will meet a minimum of three times throughout the year with their next meeting set for May 5.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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