Swimming Canada Confirms Olympic Trials Dates for June 19-23

maggie-macneil-
Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Swimming Canada on Thursday affirmed its commitment to holding Olympic Trials in Toronto from June 19-23.

The dates for Trials have been changed on several occasions due to the COVID-19 pandemic conditions in the country. It was delayed from an original date in April to May to June. During the latest delay, the organization set a late-May deadline to change or confirm the trials date and location while exploring other locations within and outside of Canada.

Thursday, though, the organization announced it is sticking with the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. They also are open to re-expanding the competition to allow more swimmers.

“The organization has explored several options, including holding the Trials elsewhere in North America. Each scenario comes with its own positive and negative factors, but we believe holding Olympic Trials in Canada, at our premier pool in the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, is the best option,” Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi said in a press release.

In partnership with Swim Ontario, Swimming Canada has prepared a 37-page Event Safety plan to mitigate risk and create a safe competition environment.

In the release, the organization said it is “working towards a plan that will include preliminary heats and finals for distances 200 meters or shorter.” The first delay of trials included a limiting of events to timed finals. Already, the participation in the event is limited to invitation-only, and Swimming Canada has provisionally named six swimmers to the Olympic roster for Tokyo.

Swimmers that are selected to travel to Tokyo will return home after trials then head to Vancouver for a staging camp ahead of the Games. The program had planned to do a camp in Toyota, Japan, but instead will stay in Canada longer, utilizing the High Performance Center at the University of British Columbia.

“Our Olympic Program has made the decision to stay in Canada for our preparations into the Olympic Games. We will no longer be doing our holding camp at Toyota City and Chukyo University and will be going straight into the Olympic Games village,” said High Performance Director John Atkinson. “The staging camp based in Toyota was a key part of our preparation for the successful 2019 world championships, and we were looking forward to returning to their world-class facilities. Mr Shiehiro Takahashi and the staff at Chukyo University made us feel extremely welcome in 2019 and we will always be grateful for that. Given the circumstances of this year and the COVID-19 situation in Japan, however, this decision is in the best interests of all involved.”

“In many ways, this has been the most challenging year-plus that our organization has ever faced,” said President Cheryl Gibson. “Swimming Canada’s board of directors has repeatedly asked management to be adaptable, change plans, and explore options. Thanks to the work that has been done with our local, provincial, federal and sport partners, we believe Swimming Canada can host a successful Olympic Trials in Toronto in late June. While we have also decided to remain in Canada for our final Games preparation, we would like to sincerely thank our partners in Toyota, Japan, for the strong working relationship we have enjoyed with them. We hope to return there one day after the situation with the global pandemic has improved.”