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Trials location moving to Toronto

News –

TORONTO – The Olympic & Paralympic Swimming Trials, Presented by Bell, will be moved to Toronto due to the closure of the Olympic Pool in Montreal.

Swimming Canada was informed Wednesday by Fédération de natation du Québec that the Centre sportif du Parc Olympique would be closed for several months due to damage caused by fire. Since that time senior staff have been consulting with partners and working on contingency plans for the event, which serves as the selection meet to nominate teams for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre will now play host on the originally scheduled dates of May 13-19. TPASC is familiar territory for Canada’s top swimmers, having been the site of multiple national and international events, including the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, Trials for the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Games, a leg of the 2022 Swimming World Cup and last year’s Trials for world championships.

“It wasn’t an easy decision and it won’t be perfect but we believe, taking all into consideration, it is the best decision with only five weeks to go before the meet,” said Swimming Canada Acting CEO Suzanne Paulins.

“The local organizing committee put together by the Fédération de natation du Québec did incredible work to help us evaluate all the possible contingencies. We also received support from the City of Montreal, Tourism Montreal, Centre Sportif du Parc Olympique and Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard. Their partnership, collaboration and willingness to help is greatly appreciated. No one anticipated this, but everyone did their best to find viable solutions.”

“Although we are disappointed that the Trials will not be held in Montreal or Quebec, we understand the need for an environment that promotes athlete preparation and performance. We support Swimming Canada in this choice. At the same time, this situation highlights the vulnerability of our sport for holding a world-class event in Quebec,” said FNQ Executive Director Francis Ménard. “We are counting on our partners to find a solution to promote the development of swimming.”

Partners consulted included the Swimming Canada High Performance Coach Advisory Council, High Performance Athlete Advisory Council, Para swimming coaches, Sport Canada, the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and Own the Podium.

With the Trials less than six weeks away and most travel plans booked, Swimming Canada’s initial focus was to maintain a Montreal-based event at the Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard. The organization also considered the Pavillon de l’éducation physique et des sports de l’Université Laval (PEPS) roughly 250 km away in Quebec City.

“We looked at every possible option of remaining in Montreal, while also considering two other options, PEPS in Quebec City and TPASC in Toronto,” Paulins said. “All three had different limitations and every factor was taken into consideration.”

In addition to travel cost changes for flights and accommodations, other factors included pool availability, with each facility hosting other previously booked activities that could not be cancelled on short notice. Swimming Canada explored the setup of a temporary Myrtha Pool to serve as a warmup/warmdown pool alongside the existing 50m competition tank at Claude-Robillard, but it would not be possible to have fully ready in time. Accessibility of each facility was also taken into consideration.

“No stone was left unturned,” Paulins said. “We looked at every possible option to make this work.”

“There have been multiple issues to consider in making this decision, and everything has been very carefully considered. Representing Team Canada at Olympics and Paralympics is the pinnacle of our sport. We had to minimize compromise for our athletes in order for them, along with their coaches, to maximize their performance,” said High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson. “This was very critical in getting to this decision. When considering a hundredth of a second is all important in our sport when striving to make standards, this will be the right decision to safeguard performances.

Ultimately, the athlete voice was strongest in advocating for TPASC. Olympians and Paralympians pointed to the availability of a second 50-m pool for warmup/warmdown and training purposes, as well as TPASC’s history of hosting world-class events with record-setting performances.

“TPASC is a great facility,” said Olympian Mary-Sophie Harvey of Montreal’s CAMO club. “Summer McIntosh swam two world records at Trials last year. There’s a lot of fast swimming and good history in this pool and I’m sure we’ll see some more.”

High Performance Athlete Advisory Council co-chair Javier Acevedo, a two-time Olympian who trains at the TPASC-based High Performance Centre – Ontario, echoed those sentiments.

“A lot of us are really excited at the prospect of coming to Toronto to swim Olympic & Paralympic Trials,” Acevedo added. “It’s the fastest pool in Canada. We’ve seen so many fast swims here like Summer’s world records, Kylie Masse’s exceptional swims, and Josh Liendo’s world No. 1. Knowing where we are now helps us plan for May 13-19. Thank you to Swimming Canada leadership for a quick decision to allow athletes to return our focus on competing at our best.”

“TPASC is a great pool,” added Paralympic medallist Tess Routliffe, one of the High Performance Centre – Quebec swimmers displaced to alternate training locations in Montreal after the Olympic Pool fire.

“Nothing is going to be perfect but I think it’s the best situation for what’s going on. We’ve been fast in that pool before, the environment is good and we hope the atmosphere will be as good as it was going to be in Quebec. We’re there to swim fast.”

“A lot of people have our backs and are willing to step up to support our athletes, which has been incredible,” Paulins said.

“The speed that all the sporting partners and all within our sport responded to make this possible has been fantastic and a key reason we have got to this decision as quickly as we have,” Atkinson added. “Our athletes had a strong voice in the consultation that happened and our coaches did as well. We thank them for their significant input.”

The focus now turns to adapting plans to move the meet to Toronto.

“It won’t be easy, but our staff, local organizing committee and volunteer base are resilient and adaptable, and have shown that time and time again in recent years with various cancellations and changes after COVID. We will do everything in our power to make this Trials the best it can be,” Paulins said.

“Thank you to our partners, Sport Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium, Province of Ontario, Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, Swim Ontario and Fédération de natation du Québec for coming together with the Swimming Canada Board of Directors and staff to help us make this change in such a short period of time,” added Swimming Canada President Mary C. Lyne.

Swimming Canada will also be setting up an assistance program for those seeking accommodations in the Toronto area and/or facing additional costs due to travel changes.

In support of this initiative, Trials sponsor Air Canada has offered to waive any change fees and fare differences incurred by those with flights already booked to Montreal. Prior to calling Air Canada to make flight changes, please complete this form so Swimming Canada may share the needed information with Air Canada.

Those affected can complete either the form above for Air Canada ticket holders, or this form for travel booked via another airline/travel method.

Additional hotel blocks, in Toronto, are being arranged and will be shared as soon as available.

Further information on refunds or replacements of existing ticket sales will be shared in the coming days.

Swimming Canada is scheduled to return to Montreal for the Canadian Swimming Trials in 2026.

“Once again we’d like to recognize the local organizing committee put together by the Fédération de natation du Québec, the City of Montreal, Tourism Montreal and all the partners who worked so very hard to keep the event in Montreal,” Paulins said. “We look forward to being back in Montreal and competing at Trials in 2026.”

For further information, please email [email protected]