Phased Reopening of Ontario Swimming Pools Beginning in Phase 2

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We are seeking to open pools in a phased approach beginning with competitive swimming and similar activities effective immediately.  The stress and strain that the covid closure is taking on our highly competitive athletes , most of whom have trained for years to excel in their sport, eyeing university scholarships, Provincial representation and National representation is substantial.  Many parents have given ample time to support their swimmers and substantial monetary investment supporting their child’s dreams. 

To see other sports begin training simply increases anxiety of our athletes who can not do the same.  We ask that you recognize that pool recreation and competitive programs are not one in the same and need to be distinctly treated.  Swimming organizations are taking strict measures to manage a safe return to sport.  We have a return to train phased in approach documented and standard operating procedures that will match all guidelines that the Province provides. Swimming is the number 1 ranked Olympic Summer sport.  Swim clubs in Ontario comprise tens of thousands of participants from development programming to elite international competitors.  In addition, Masters swim program can begin, lane swimming and other aquatic exercise/fitness programs the Province deems safe.

As of Tuesday, May 19, 2020, the Province of Ontario is only allowing Indoor Sports Facilities that fall under one of the following 3 categories to re-open:

1.      A national sport organization that is funded by Sport Canada or a member of such organization.

2.      A provincial sport or multi-sport organization recognized by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture or a member of such an organization.

3.      A professional sport league or member of such a league

Our sport meets these criteria and can train in outdoor facilities as well this summer.  Competitive swimming can provide one of the safest return to sport environments for athletes.  Physical distancing is easy to achieve, we do not require the need to share any equipment, access and flow in and out of facilities can be easily managed and our athletes are primarily breathing into chlorinated water.  We can manage a safe and effective return to sport utilizing the pool water and the deck area to safely position athletes 2-3m apart, minimum and mitigate risk as good or better than most sports.  In addition, masters swim teams, triathlon teams, lane fitness swimming and similar structured aquatic exercise programs can start safely.

We encourage you to come and tour a facility and evaluate our return to training plan.

As a professional aquatics industry, competitive swimming teams have the tools and resources to manage a safe return to sport.  We provide a disciplined swimming environment at all levels to teach, heal, care for, encourage and strengthen our youth. For our para athletes, this may be their only form of exercise.  Closing to pools to everyone is not an option!

Again, we ask that you differentiate between recreational and competitive programs.  We are working with highly motivated, highly disciplined, highly achieving students who have devoted their lives to this sport.  

Pools can open safely for sport and fitness oriented programs now and phase in other programming as it becomes safe to do so.  Premier Ford and Minister Elliot, please open pools now with phased in programming.