Swimming Natation Canada (SNC) Strategic Plan, called Vision 2020 outlines its primary objective as follows:
“Increase revenues by 50%, and do so by increasing membership by 66%.”
This vision statement sums up everything wrong with swimming, and organized sport in general today. With the focus of our sports federation turning to financial growth, instead of improving training, coaching, access to the sport, removing barriers to entry, and supporting our athletes, the business of swimming is no longer about the sport, nor the athletes… its about monetizing every aspect of sport with disregard for the impact, the intended and unintended consequences it causes.
This strategic plan is appropriate if it came from the Annual Report of a publicly listed and traded for-profit company on the TSX, not from a non-profit government funded sport federation, not from Swimming Canada / Swim Ontario / Masters Swimming Canada.
This strategic plan is clear communication from the Executive of these associations that they are primarily concerned with the security of their own positions and compensation packages, and secondarily with the sport, with Canadians.
As a family, we started TOEST because we believe sport must be brought back to its roots… a tool for masters athletes to regain their health, to improve their performance in life, as a means to pursue meaningful and challenging goals, and as a tool for our youth to develop life skills which will serve them throughout life, helping them to reach for their potential and experience it. If we earn a few podiums along the way, fantastic, but the real podium in life – as Bruce Lee would say – is when you are expressing yourself freely, living at the highest level of your purpose.
We started TOEST to focus on health, then function, and performance only at the end.
We started TOEST to focus on family health… create a platform for families to train together, be together, have fun together.
We started TOEST to extend to anyone the opportunity to be part of a community who wants to train & compete in an healthy manner.
We did not start TOEST with financial targets, with sales or profit projections.
As a result, the vision of SO/SNC/MSC and TOEST do not align and TOEST will not pursue affiliation with SO/SNC/MSC. TOEST cannot support through membership nor finances the goals of SO/SNC/MSC. TOEST will support MSO. As a team we will be looking to attend MSO sanctioned meets in support of all other small masters swim teams. We will seek opportunities such as dual meets and invitational time trials to offer athletes the chance to compete. If need be, we will seek competitions in the USA where swimmers are welcomed with open arms.
Below you will find four (4) documents which I believe will provide you sufficient background to show that this is not simply a small matter where throwing a few dollars around makes a problem appear to go away (e.g. pay and comply with SO/SNC/MSC just to be able to compete). We believe what is at stake is the nature of the sport of swimming. If you review the attached document titled “Swim Ontario: A Call to Action” you will find that the pursuit of absolute power and control extends equally into Swim Ontario.
Also, as parents we believe it is critical for us to show our children that its important to take a stand when you know something is wrong, even when it means that it may cost you…. in relationships, in business, in finance. To us, this is bigger than simply whether masters can swim at a meet, or set a record, its about standing for what we believe is right, its about regaining our sport, returning it to its highest form for generations to come.
We understand that our position may not meet the needs of all our athletes, but we never intended for TOEST to be a solution for all. If as a result of our stance TOEST no longer meets your needs as an athlete, please contact Aimee and/or I so that we can obtain for you a satisfactory outcome.
Mark & Aimee