Swimming Canada Developing Plan For Safe Return to Pool

Swimming Canada is planning a safe return to the pool. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Following in the footsteps of other country’s swimming governing bodies, Swimming Canada has taken several steps to ensure a safe return to the pool. In a release sent out Monday, Swimming Canada has created a 15-person “Return to Swimming Working Group” with the goal of a safe return.

Swimming Canada will work with Canada Artistic Swimming, Diving Canada and Water Polo Canada on this initiative. Swimming Canada is also communicating directly with its partners at major recreation facilities, as well as with the Lifesaving Society, which sets the standard for lifeguard performance in Canada. As appropriate, recommendations and information will be shared with health authorities, aquatic facilities, provincial sections, clubs and coaches to equip them to lead a safe return to swimming.

“So many people and organizations rely on aquatic facilities, and we are all in this together,” said Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we as the collective Canadian swimming community have had to significantly adapt our normal routines and activities in order to prioritize the health and wellbeing of Canadians as a whole. As we look to eliminate barriers to return to the pool, safety will continue to be our No. 1 priority. We know there is no quick fix, and we will collaborate with all our partners to work within the recommendations of local health authorities.”

The plan will be conducted in phases and will start once municipal, provincial and federal regulations will allow it. Phase 1 will allow elite athletes to return such as the ones at the Swimming Canada High Performance Centres, and other Olympic & Paralympic hopefuls training at universities. Future phases will include expanding these groups, and adding groups as the sport works toward a full return to training, and eventually competition.

“We need to consider how athletes enter and exit facilities, use equipment, get changed, and train with space between them in the pool. We are looking at all options to make a safe return to training as soon as it is possible,” Atkinson said.

Swimming Canada continues to be hopeful it will be able to host an invitational camp for top pool and open water swimmers Aug. 25-29, and will continue to look to host any and all such training opportunities within Canada in the coming months.

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