Swimming Canada Officially Postpones Olympic Trials, Paralympic Trials

jade-hannah-
Photo Courtesy: Swimming Canada/Ian MacNicol

Swimming Canada officially postponed the Olympic Trials and Paralympic Trials as part of containment measures being enforced in the country, in common with many others, due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

The trials have not been cancelled, though Swimming Canada confirmed that they will not take place on the originally scheduled days, March 30-April 5.

Swimming Canada stated this in its release:

Following Friday’s directives from the Government of Ontario to restrict gatherings of more than 250 people, Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi has confirmed that all national events through at least April 20 will be cancelled or postponed, including the Olympic and Paralympic Swimming Trials.

“With 3,000 to 5,000 people expected to attend daily, our Olympic and Paralympic Trials would grossly exceed the recommendations from Ontario’s chief medical officer. We also recognize that other provinces and cities are restricting access to pools and some athletes will not be able to train and prepare properly,” El-Awadi said. “For these reasons, among others, the Trials will not run as scheduled from March 30 to April 5 in Toronto, and all Trials tickets purchased through Ticketmaster will be refunded.”

The 2020 Eastern and Western Championships in Windsor, Ont., and Saskatoon
April 16-19 will also be cancelled.

Swimming Canada has been closely monitoring the evolving global COVID-19 situation, consulting with team physicians and experts from partner organizations with participant and public safety as the foremost concern.

Senior staff will continue to meet regularly and explore all potential adjustments, including postponing the Trials or cancelling the event and implementing an alternate Games qualification path. Swimming Canada will review all nomination/selection criteria and will communicate an update to these documents once available.

On or before April 21, the organization will make additional decisions regarding the status of Trials and remaining national events for 2020, including the Open Water Championships scheduled for April 25-26 on Grand Cayman.

Swimming Canada has also instructed its provincial sections to cancel all sanctioned competitions from March 16 to April 20. Training and other activities may still be allowed under certain circumstances, in line with the guidelines of local health authorities. Clubs should take all appropriate steps to mitigate the risks associated with the spread of COVID-19.

“The Olympic and Paralympic Trials are our flagship national event of the four-year Games cycle. We recognize that this is a tremendously disappointing decision for swimmers and coaches who have been training and preparing for months and years to be at their best for these trials,” said Swimming Canada High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson. “While it was a difficult decision, we have no doubt it is the correct one for the safety of our swimming community and the public at large. We thank our swimmers and coaches for their professionalism and adaptability, and will communicate more details as soon as possible.”

“As an athlete and as president, I understand that this is a difficult situation for everyone affected,” added Olympic medallist Cheryl Gibson, Swimming Canada’s president. “Swimming Canada is committed to ensuring we make every possible effort to prepare the athletes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. That said, the safety of our participants is always our foremost concern, and we must make this difficult decision in the interest of safety.”

Extraordinary Events In Swimming History:

Australia, China, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy, France, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil and Japan have all had major meets affected by the coronavirus pandemic, while in the United States, the NCAA Championships have been cancelled and USA Swimming has imposed a 30-day suspension on all events, while Canada is considering what to do about its Olympic trials early next month. In Italy, where swimmers are struggling to maintain normal routines, can’t get to practice and in some cases find pool time, a #stopolympics campaign was launched by the Nuoto website calling on solidarity among swimming nations to recognise that Olympic preparations have been blown off course and that it would be in the interests of fairness to postpone the Games for a time of calm beyond the coronavirus crisis. 

Our coverage:

Guidance on Water and Coronavirus 

 

14 comments

    • Vicky Subotich

      Tricia Grigsby Zafirova I know, Alex is super bummed. Toronto coach says they’ll try to have it early summer. Fingers crossed! Heart is broken for all these athletes

    • Michelle Hudreck Billitto

      😢 does he get to practice? Our pool just closed so the kids can’t even practice. I’m trying to find something for andrew

    • Vicky Subotich

      Michelle Hudreck Billitto Bolles just closed till April 5th! I’m scrambling over here

      • avatar
        Lana

        Contact Olympian Nimrod Shapiro at Aqua swim just off San Jose blvd in JAX as he has an endless pool and is welcoming elite athletes.

    • DeeAnn Gibson Hanlon

      Michelle Hudreck Billitto this is our problem too. Pool closed. We were supposed to time trial this morning but the city wouldn’t let us.

    • avatar
      Craig Lord - Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

      Not at all unnecessary, according to the WHO, as it explains why ‘herd immunity’ approaches are dangerous:
      As the World Health Organization advocates “aggressive” measures, spokeswoman Margaret Harris has questioned the UK’s approach to developing “herd immunity” against Covid-19.

      Dr Harris told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “We don’t know enough about the science of this virus, it hasn’t been in our population for long enough for us to know what it does in immunological terms.

      “Every virus functions differently in your body and stimulates a different immunological profile. We can talk theories, but at the moment we are really facing a situation where we have got to look at action.”