Swimming Canada has released today the third of a three-part series on the success of Return to Swimming across Canada. Today’s release also saw the release of data that has been compiled to demonstrate how the sport has resumed safely and should continue to.
Swim Alberta echo’s Swimming Canada’s statement that the success of the return to swimming that has been unfolding is only possible when there is a high degree of collaboration across all groups and partners that have a vital role to play in sport, and in our case swimming.
Alberta has seen 43 of 48 year-round age group clubs return to training this fall plus all three of our varsity programs and about half of our masters (18+) clubs across the province. Alberta is seeing slightly higher averages than what is happening across the country in regards to swimmers returning to the sport. In Alberta, nearly 4,500 swimmers have taken to the water through September and October compared to just over 6,800 at this time last year or about 65% of Alberta athletes return to the sport, versus 50% nationally.
“We expected lower registration numbers overall for this competitive season”, states Cheryl Humphrey, Swim Alberta Executive Director. “This is due to choices families have had to make around participation in sport, the number of cohorts their family is comfortable with, health considerations of some members, as well as the financial consequences that has hit the province as a result of the pandemic and the Alberta economy. We are seeing youth swimmers safely returning to a sport they love and benefiting from the mental and physical health benefits competitive swimming provides”.
Swim Alberta is committed to ensuring that all return to sport has been done with the safety of our athletes and membership as the main priority. In June, Swim Alberta published the first version of our Return to Swimming Requirements document, as well as the updated versions done over the last several months have paved the way for clubs to develop and implement their own specific return to swimming plan.
“The success that we have seen in Alberta with a safe return to sport has been with the combined and collective efforts of our club programs and facility partners across the province, who collectively are all committed to ensuring swimmers in Alberta can return to the sport of swimming through well thought out return to sport plans” adds Humphrey.
Swim Alberta will be releasing version 8 of the Return to Swimming and Competition Requirements document on Friday, October 30th. This version has incorporated the requirements clubs will need to apply for and host sanctioned competitions beginning in the later part of November. All sanctioned competitions will continue to have safety as the priority and ensure all guidance from Alberta Health is in place and adhered to. “Much thought and care has gone into developing the Return to Competition Requirements for Swimming”, says Kevin Dennis, Sport Development Director for Swim Alberta. “This required ‘re-imagining’ what competitions would look like, ensuring the safety of athletes and volunteers, how to maintain physical distancing when cohorts may not be in place, and how to incorporate officials onto the pool deck, creating not only a safe but fair and equitable competition for our athletes”.
Training and Orientation sessions will be provided to all clubs, competition managers and referees in the coming days so everyone has a full understanding of the requirements for competitions.
Link to Swim Alberta’s Return to Swimming (Return to Competition to be updated October 30).
For more information please contact:
Cheryl Humphrey, Executive Director – Swim Alberta
For national press release please contact:
Nathan White, Swimming Canada