Due to factors related to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, Swimming Canada is announcing an alternate qualification path for international open water events in 2022.
With Cayman Islands remaining in Phase 3 of its reopening plan until the end of the year, the Canadian Open Water Swimming Trials scheduled for Nov. 27-28 on Grand Cayman will be cancelled. Phase 3 calls for travellers to spend a minimum of seven days in quarantine, even if fully vaccinated.
“We had hoped to conduct the event in November, but it would not be possible to run an event in Cayman Islands effectively with all participants needing to quarantine for seven or more days. While we looked at other locations with appropriate climate, all came with too much uncertainty to ensure we could run a fair event for all Canadian competitors,” said High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson. “Unfortunately we had to make the decision to cancel the Open Water Trials on Grand Cayman.”
Swimming Canada will instead offer spots to compete at the 2022 FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, in May to swimmers who competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Canada will fill its remaining male and female open water spots from the results of the 1,500-m freestyle at the 2022 Canadian Swimming Trials, set for April 5-10 in Victoria. The pool trials will also serve as the selection meet for the 2022 FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships.
“We have a great partnership with the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association. It’s sad that the current climate has made it impossible to go there for our trials, but I think we’ve got the next best alternative policy here,” said Distance/Open Water Coach Mark Perry. “The first priority in the selection criteria is to recognize the athletes who proved themselves in the summer, and there’s still plenty of time for others to prepare for Trials in April and show what they can do with their speed.”
Swimming Canada will publish full detailed selection policies in the coming days.
“While it’s disappointing not to return to Cayman Island to run Open Water Trials as we have done successfully before, we have to look at the current travel situation with COVID-19 and the practicalities of what that means,” Atkinson said. “By establishing this process to qualify from the pool Trials in Victoria, we’ve given everybody some certainty as to how the process will work and now we can move forward.”