In light of the continuing global situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, Swimming Canada is making contingency plans and updates to its competition calendar for the coming year.
With an eye toward the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games being held July 23-Aug. 8, 2021, followed by the Paralympic Games Aug. 24-Sept. 5, the organization plans to reschedule its Olympic and Paralympic Trials for April 7-11, 2021 at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.
The meet would be condensed into a five-day program from the seven days originally scheduled for 2020. Specific selection and nomination policies for teams that would be chosen from the Trials will be developed with the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee. These will be published once qualification processes are confirmed by partners such as FINA, the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee.
On the open water side, Swimming Canada will look to return to the Cayman Islands to host the Canadian Open Water Swimming Trials April 17 and 18 on Grand Cayman. This would serve as the selection point for the final Canadian male and female to attend the Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier.
“With swimmers unable to train now, but hoping to be back in the fall, we have to adapt, and have been hard at work preparing alternate plans based on the best information available,” said Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson.
In addition, the Speedo Eastern and Western Championships previously scheduled for April 2021 will be replaced by a virtual championships format, for the 2021 season only, with the intent to return to the existing format again in 2022.
“Swimming Canada recognizes that our clubs and families are likely to be facing additional financial strain as they return to swimming next year,” Atkinson said. “The idea of a virtual championships will allow all athletes and clubs to focus on their provincial championships in late February and March while still competing for championship banners and team awards from scored championships.”
Further into the summer, the Canadian Swimming Championships and Canadian Junior Swimming Championships will be combined into a single event July 26-Aug. 2, 2021, in Calgary. Junior and senior athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic streams will be included.
“Combining the senior and junior championships was already in our plans for 2022 and 2024, so we will look at further reducing the burden on athletes and clubs by combining them in 2021. This will allow swimmers, coaches and families to remain closer to home for longer stretches, focus on training, and reduce travel and financial obligations,” Atkinson said.
The Speedo Can Am Para Swimming Open remains scheduled for Dec. 11-13, 2020, at the University of British Columbia Aquatic Centre in Vancouver. Swimming at the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games remains scheduled for Aug. 6-13. An announcement on the Canadian Masters Swimming Championships will be made at a later date.
Swimming Canada will continue to re-evaluate its plans through 2021 and beyond as further decisions are announced by international partners, as well as national, provincial and municipal government health authorities.