Swimming Natation Canada (SNC) and Swim Ontario (SO) have had the opportunity for decades to demonstrate what they would do with the full authority to make the sport of swimming great for all Canadians. What SNC and SO have demonstrated in that time is that when given authority they will abuse it, using it to obtain power and control for the purpose of profiting themselves, to benefit their own interests and the benefits of their supporters.
SNC and its Provincial counterparts (the PSOs – e.g. Swim Ontario) have failed to make swimming great in Canada.
The full list of posts comprising the thread titled “The State of Swimming” summarizes the consistent patterns of SNC and SO which have made the sport of swimming inaccessible, unequitable, unfair, and unsportsmanlike:
There needs to be a balance of power. Unrestrained authority on the part of SNC and SO has led to stagnation in the sport of swimming, in the quality of coaching, in the level of excellence amongst our athletes, with our Canadian athletes going abroad in search of the coaching philosophies, concepts and coaches who can take them to the international level of competition.
Masters Swimming Ontario’s refusal to bend to the threats of SNC and SO, its stance against the hostile takeover attempt by Swim Ontario provides us a model of balanced power that is the solution for the sport of swimming in Canada and all provinces.
Masters Swimming Ontario has demonstrated what SNC and SO said is impossible without them… a full range of swim teams, swimming programs, and competitive swim meets with officiating and volunteers. SNC and SO in statements to SDRCC (Sports Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada) proclaimed that any removal of their oversight would lead to immediate collapse of the entire sport of swimming in Canada.
It hasn’t happened.
What has happened is that Masters Swimmers in Ontario (MSO) are now free of the punitive fees, of the restrictive policies and procedures, from the oversight that is designed to limit the sport.
Canadians have nothing to fear by SNC and SO’s roles being cut back and being cut back significantly. Aquatics Canada will provide Canadians with access to FINA sanctioned international competitions. If not through SNC and SO then through other bodies, but a pathway will exist.
The opportunity now is for a parallel model of age group (youth) swim teams similar to masters swim teams to spring up across Ontario, to work together to create a casual competitive season of swim meets where technique, skills and capacity are the focus in training along with fun and friendship and where competition is only to test athletes in their ability to execute technical, tactical, and strategic excellence, not driving athletes to make times or qualification standards. The opportunity is to create programs which allows kids to be themselves: to progress at their own individual rate of growth and development.
There are endless opportunities to start up programs… it only takes the will.
In starting up TOEST.ca – our own Masters Swim Club – we were told it was pointless. We were told that there already were masters clubs (BMSC, Burl Y, and GHAC masters) in the city of Burlington… a 4th masters team was one too many. We were told that there was no pool time available or whatever pool time there was wouldn’t be times anyone would want to swim. When we started the only evening time slots to rent pool time were on Friday and Sundays. Now, Fridays & Sundays are the most popular and that’s despite adding on Monday and Tuesday evenings in this our second season.
This year we have added a junior program called jTOEST.ca to provide age groupers as young as 6 the opportunity to start swimming outside of Swim Ontario affiliated swim clubs. Our programs are growing and with the growth of private pools (e.g. private health clubs) the opportunity for coaches to partner with these facilities and start clubs is only growing. FYI… our jTOEST program started in a region that already has 4 age group swim clubs affiliated with Swim Ontario, plus at least another 2 programs dedicated to youth swimming.
There is always demand for programs of a higher quality.
We encourage all coaches who have had enough of the Swim Ontario system to go out and start a team, the sport of swimming in Ontario needs you. Based on the stats there are not hundreds, but thousands upon thousands of children that could be enrolled in swim training programs… if there were only the clubs, if there were only the coaches that had the courage to go out and do what they tell their athletes…
Dream big dreams, work hard in pursuit of those dreams and you will be ready to seize the opportunity to experience your fullest potential when it comes along.