Masters

Masters

Dear Masters Swimmers and Coaches,

I hope you’ve enjoyed a wonderful summer so far. I also hope you’ve had a chance to swim in one of Canada’s many lakes or outdoor pools. It feels like swimming outdoors is a quintessential part of Canadian summers!

I know that there has been lots of communication over the past few months about the changes and the future of masters swimming in Canada. I also know that all of the communication has left many feeling confused and even angry. I sincerely apologize that we’ve ended up in this situation. 

Swimming Canada’s goal throughout this entire process has been to provide the best possible support to the masters swimming community. Hopefully, what follows will help demonstrate this intent.

As we prepare for the new swim season, Swimming Canada, with the help of our ten Provincial Sections, will continue to offer the same membership services to masters swimmers that we always have. These include meet sanctioning, coach certification, officiating certification, club services, insurance, etc. This also includes the benefits of our close partnerships with FINA, Sport Canada and Aquatics Canada. I want to be clear that a masters swimmer who joins a club affiliated with Swimming Canada will receive all the services listed above. These services are not contingent on being a member of any other organization.

In addition, Swimming Canada will be taking a more active role in supporting the masters swimming community. To assist us with this, we’ve recently hired Cynthia Pincott as our Coordinator, Masters Swimming. Cynthia has a lifetime of experience with the sport of swimming, including years as a masters swimmer and a masters coach. You can find out more about Cynthia here. Cynthia’s first day is Sept. 3 and we can’t wait for her to get started. 

Moreover, to ensure we are on the right track, we’ve established a Masters Swimming Committee. The intent of this committee is to ensure we have a direct line of open and transparent communication to the masters swimming community and ultimately to ensure that the decisions and programs we put together are meaningful and relevant to masters swimmers. Even though the committee was only struck recently, the members of this committee have already started providing invaluable feedback. The full list of committee members can be found here.

We’ve experienced tremendous growth at Swimming Canada over the past 5+ years. We are quickly approaching 50 full-time staff. I point this out simply to say that we are better positioned to support masters swimming than we ever have been before. 

I’ve received numerous questions over the past few months. Below are a few of the most common questions that I would like to share answers to.

Yours in swimming,

Ahmed El-Awadi
Chief Executive Officer

Swimming Canada seems to be solely focused on high performance, why do you care about masters swimming?

High performance is a key area of focus for Swimming Canada without question. It is also the area that receives lots of media attention. While we are very proud of the success of our national teams, it has never been our sole area of focus. In partnership with our Provincial Sections we have always focused on athlete development, coach development, officiating development, club development, etc. 

Part of Swimming Canada’s mission is to inspire Canadians to be active and healthy. Masters swimmers are the embodiment of this. We recognize that masters swimmers are wonderful ambassadors and advocates for the sport of swimming, both with their friends and families, and within the community at large. Whether training for fitness or to compete, all masters swimmers are an essential part of the Swimming Canada family.

The vast majority of the age group swimmers registered with Swimming Canada today will not represent Canada internationally. For this large group, developing a lifelong passion for the sport of swimming should be the focus. Ideally, this includes being active (or competitive) for life as a masters swimmer.

How are my registration fees used? Are my fees used to support the high performance program?

For the 2018-19 season, approximately 7,500 masters swimmers registered with Swimming Canada. The registration fee per swimmer was $4.00, which generated revenue of $30,000 to Swimming Canada. These funds were used to offset costs related to the development of the Masters Coaching online module as well as the ongoing maintenance of the Swimming Canada registration system, the coach and official certification programs and general administrative costs. None of the funds were directed towards the High Performance program.

For the upcoming 2019-2020 season the masters registration fee will $10/registrant. We are anticipating revenues of approximately $75,000. These funds will be used to offset costs of a full-time staff person as well as the costs as outlined above. I can say with absolute certainty that Swimming Canada is spending more money on supporting masters swimmers than we are bringing in as revenue from the masters community.

Is it reasonable to expect that one dedicated staff person and an operational committee can service the entire masters swimming community?

The answer is no, and that is not my expectation. Swimming Canada has a strong infrastructure of staff who will also support. In fact, many of our staff already play a role in supporting masters swimmers. Whether it is the development of the Masters Coaching online module or enhancements to the registration system, our staff have long played a role – both direct and indirect – in supporting masters. By adding a dedicated staff member and an operational committee, I expect that these new resources will identify and lead new ideas and initiatives, with the support of the Swimming Canada staff infrastructure, to better serve the masters community. The ten Provincial Sections play an important role in this as well. I am confident that together we can support all members of the swimming family.

Will Swimming Canada offer participation programs such as the Million Meter Challenge?

Several of the Provincial Sections already offer participation programs and Swimming Canada will follow suit. Potential future programs will be developed based on input and feedback from the masters community.

What about Provincial and National Records?

Each Provincial Section is responsible for managing their own provincial records. This remains unchanged. Swimming Canada is committed to managing and maintaining the national records. There are a few hurdles we need to overcome to achieve this, but we are confident we will have a solution in place in the near future. Swimming Canada, via Aquatics Canada, is the only swimming organization in Canada that is recognized by FINA and therefore we are the link for the approval of World Masters Records.

Will Swimming Canada host a Masters Nationals?

Yes, Swimming Canada will host an annual Canadian Masters Swimming Championships (aka Masters Nationals). Details on the 2020 event will be communicated in September.

Will unattached swimmers be able to join Swimming Canada and compete the same as others who are fortunate to live in an area that has a masters swimming program?

Masters swimmers wishing to register who don’t have a club in their area can do so. Registrations of this type are done directly with the provincial section. Each province has an unattached masters category of registration. So swimmers would still register with their province and then with Swimming Canada. We encourage you to reach out to your provincial section.

Why don’t I see any information about masters swimming on the Swimming Canada website/social media?

For many years, Swimming Canada has, rightly or wrongly, relied on other organizations to support the masters swimming community. As we take a more active role, the presence of masters swimming on our website and social media channels will also increase. To that end, you are reading this message on a newly created Masters section of the Swimming Canada website. You may have also seen our articles on the World Masters Swimming Championships last week (check them out here and here).

These are humble beginnings but we are committed to expanding the content and visibility of masters swimming on our site and on social media over the next year.

Do you have other masters related questions that you would like answered? Please submit them here: questions@swimming.ca