I would like to share with you an exchange I had recently in order to demonstrate how fear, ignorance, and blind loyalty typically end up with the sheep being slaughtered… (or in the case of people, where the people end up getting fleeced).

While sitting in the stands at the Teddy Bares Alderwood meet just a couple weeks ago, I was approached by the head coach of EOMAC (Etobicoke Olympium Masters Aquatic Club aka etobicoke masters swimming). He stated flat out that he is working with Dan Thompson in an effort to reunite masters swimmers back under one umbrella.

I asked why?

His reply… Nationals (and stated in such a way as if incredulous to me even posing such a question)?

I stated that Nationals are of little interest to the majority of our team (and to the majority of masters swimmers – impacting as few as 2% and perhaps as many as 10% when Nationals are conveniently located), and those who want to go have the option of going and swimming unattached… so where is the need to subordinate ourselves to Swimming Canada, Swim Ontario, and Masters Swimming Canada all of whom have no vested interested in seeing masters swimming in Ontario flourish?

Taken aback by my reply, his next line of attack was surprising…

The EOMAC head coach then decided to take another tactic… fear mongering! He stated that the Alderwood Teddy Bare meet was being held without any insurance whatsoever.

Seriously… his words, not mine.

I looked at him to check that he wasn’t just joking but when I realized how serious he was and how correct he thought he was… I simply stated “I rent pool time… if you rented pool time you would know that no City is going to rent any organization their facilities without there being appropriate insurance in place”. I tried to make it clear that there was no way that the Alderwood meet was ‘just happening’ without all the appropriate criteria fulfilled. And yes… a meet can be held in Ontario without Swim Ontario. If not, then how do high school swim meets occur as well as OFSAA Swimming 2019 (which is going to be held this year at the Pan Am Pool Complex in Toronto).

Realizing that this coach was blindly following whatever was fed to him by Dan Thompson, or Swim Ontario, or Brian Sheridan and never himself ever doing any due diligence to formulate his own opinion or thought on the matter, there was no purpose in continuing to try and convince him that he was missing facts and basing his arguments all on feelings, not logical and reasonable analysis of the underlying issues.

With that, and seeing that he lost his credibility with his ridiculous comments regarding swim meet insurance, he quickly changed his tune to show how supportive he and his team are of the Alderwood meet. The coach stated the he had brought 20 people from his team to Alderwood. Funny thing is, if you check the MSO Meet Result data (available at this link), EOMAC had only 10 people swimming. I guess when facts and accuracy of your facts are irrelevant, you can make up whatever you want on the spot in order to try and make a point or push your point onto someone else. Sounds familiar… Swim Ontario/Swimming Canada used the same tactic when I dealt with them via SDRCC. Both stated that “much research” was done (re: unattached swimming) but when the arbitrator asked for the documentation, funny thing… SNC replied that no one had done any. Convenient isn’t it when the proper paperwork just isn’t there to support your arguments but the arguments were the basis for policy development?

[As an aside… why would you – as a coach or athlete – attend a meet if you were concerned about insurance when you believed that there was no insurance covering anyone at the swim meet? Wouldn’t you suggest to your team/your athletes especially in the position as head coach for no one to attend the meet if there was such a risk? Why show up and then advertise with how many athletes you showed up when you first argued that showing up was a risky proposition?]

At this point, with another event to swim I stated to the coach that if he wanted to continue this discussion I would do so but after the event. The coach said ok, but as of yet he has still not contacted me to continue making his arguments. He did however turn immediately to another coach… the Guelph coach to see if he could emotionally swing someone to his side.

What’s the point of this post?

The point is to call out the bullshit that is passing as “information” and to call out those who are propagating the bullshit in order to try and manipulate masters through fear into the hands of Masters Swimming Canada and Swim Ontario/SNC. I hope that masters swim team boards, head coaches, and all masters swimmers will educate themselves on not only this issue but in general on the tendencies of both Swimming Natation Canada and Swim Ontario. I believe that you will come to the same conclusion I have regarding these organizations and based on that conclusion… there is little upside (if any) and significant downside risk to affiliate with these organizations.

Last point for masters swimmers for whom Nationals & Worlds are critical:

  • Swim Ontario & SNC MUST make access to Nationals and they MUST make access to FINA Worlds possible for all Canadians. According to Aquatics Canada, in order to retain their status as representative bodies of the sport of swimming , neither Swim Ontario nor SNC can deny Ontario athletes access to the sport irrespective of whether or not there is a provincial body representing masters.

  • ‘Competitive’ Masters Swimmers… you lack nothing; why rope the rest of us in when you have unrestricted access to all swim meets: provincial, national & international?

  • I believe we have the right mix with Masters Swimming Ontario (MSO) standing as an independent body yet Swim Ontario/SNC required to make access to all National and International level meets available to all Ontario masters swimmers (via an “unattached” swimmer category). If uniting under one umbrella makes sense… then please make the argument based on the needs of not just yourself, but the majority of masters swimmers who typically do not compete and if they do, compete perhaps once or twice a season and typically only at small local meets, for whom records and podiums are not a priority.

In the case of the EOMAC head coach…

If Nationals are as important as you made it seem, if competing is as important as you were making it sound it to be… then why would a team which typically has 80+ members only have 10 at a meet which took place no more than 10mins away from their home pool? If competition is so important… then why weren’t more swimmers at the meet? Why weren’t more swimmers attempting yard records at the only yard meet in Ontario?

The argument that Nationals is the reason masters swimmers need to unite… is unfounded, which means that there is an alternative agenda behind the actions of Swim Ontario & Swimming Natation Canada (and its an agenda that will not be disclosed in advance with any degree of honesty; masters will learn of the agenda only after the fact… when its too late to turn around because masters swimming will again be subordinated).