Swimming Canada Significantly Changes Competition Structure

Photo Courtesy: Vaughn Ridley/Swimming Canada

At this April’s Canadian Olympic Trials, the nation’s swimmers had some impressive races, and began to see the rewards of their developing High Performance program. As the country turns its attention to the potential in Rio this summer, the Swimming Canada governing body released a document that changes many aspects of the competition framework.

Among the most significant outlined changes are an emphasis on long course, the removal of 50 meter events, and structuring the season around peak meets. The goals of these changes are to build and strengthen the high performance program, and in turn Canada’s swimming.

Qualifying for Swimming Canada competitions will require long course meters times, and the qualifying window will be shorter. Historically, the short course season has taken place through February, though this will now be shortened. There are still areas with minimal access to long course facilities, however. They explain, “Short course times would still gain the swimmer entry into provincial championships (as determined by the province), other provincial competitions and/or club meets.”

Peak performance will aim to take place in March/April and again in July/August. In between there should be some competitions, identified as “prep meets” according to Swimming Canada, but these are not the focus. The late summer performances are the larger focus of the two.

Swimming Canada is sharpening its long term focus on success at the Olympic level with the removal of 50 butterfly, backstroke, and breaststroke events.

The specific explanation states:
“These events lead swimmers and coaches to focus and prepare for a set of events not on the Olympic program. Through some of the statistics we have gathered, there is a noticed lack of development in distance swimming and this partly shows that Canada is overly focused on sprint events. 50m events do favour early maturing swimmers who tend to focus on swimming these events based on their strength and maturation and not, due to technical skills developed. This leads to swimmers not building the appropriate aerobic base in the key developmental years”

Read Canada’s full Competition Framework 2017-2020 Improvement Plan here.

Read the Question and Answer Document here.

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Author: Cathleen Pruden

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Cathleen Pruden is a 2016 graduate of Mount Holyoke College and was a four time All-American and a three time Academic All-American for the Lyons. She grew up swimming in and has also coached in Raleigh, North Carolina. Currently she is the Assistant Coach at Bowdoin College.

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