June 23rd, 2024

Athletes drove the choice of Toronto for swim trials, says Swimming Canada chief

By Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press on April 9, 2024.

Athletes in favour of Toronto as a Plan B for the Olympic and Paralympic swim trials drove the decision to relocate there from Montreal, says the head of Swimming Canada.

Toronto’s Pan Am Sports Centre was built for the 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games and was the site of Olympic and Paralympic trials in 2016 and 2021.

Swimming Canada interim chief executive officer Suzanne Paulins said the tried and tested venue gave the athletes a sense of comfort amid the upheaval of trying to find an alternate location for the May 13-19 trials that will determine who goes to Paris this summer.

Approximately 800 athletes from across Canada will compete at trials for the right to wear the Maple Leaf in Paris.

Montreal’s Olympic pool was the original venue, but a March 21 fire at nearby Olympic Stadium, and subsequent smoke and water damage from firefighting, made air quality in the pool not fit for humans for four to six months, said Paulins and Quebec swimming federation head Francis Menard.

When Montreal’s Olympic Park made that announcement last week, Swimming Canada was left scrambling for another available venue in the May time frame, and one that had not only a 50-metre racing pool, but another warmup and cool-down pool, adequate capacity for spectators, accessibility for para athletes and broadcast and digital stream capabilities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2024.

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