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Swimming Canada confirms Olympic trials in Toronto have green light

TORONTO — Canada's Olympic swim trials can proceed next month in Toronto, Swimming Canada announced Thursday.

TORONTO — Canada's Olympic swim trials can proceed next month in Toronto, Swimming Canada announced Thursday.

The organization said in a release that Toronto Public Health has confirmed that the June 19-23 event can take place at the Pan Am Sports Centre under the exemption for high-performance sport in Ontario's stay-at-home order.

The trials are the primary means of selection for Canada's swim team for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

They were originally scheduled for May 24-28 but were pushed back due to restrictions around the COIVD-19 pandemic. 

Six swimmers were pre-selected to the Olympic team in January.

Kylie Masse of LaSalle, Ont., Penny Oleksiak of Toronto, Margaret Mac Neil of London, Ont., Taylor Ruck of Kelowna, B.C., Sydney Pickrem of Halifax and Markus Thormeyer of Newmarket, Ont., were chosen in events and distances in which they excel.

The Paralympic portion of Canada's swim trials was cancelled because the June dates conflict with an international para-swimming event in Berlin.

Swimming Canada provisionally selected seven swimmers to the team on May 11 based on performances at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championship in London, and said remaining spots will be filled by reviewing training logs and data, as well as a video-recorded time trial performance, from eligible swimmers.

“The organization has explored several options, including holding the Trials elsewhere in North America. Each scenario comes with its own positive and negative factors, but we believe holding Olympic Trials in Canada, at our premier pool in the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, is the best option,” Swimming Canada chief executive officer Ahmed El-Awadi said in a statement. 

Swimming Canada says it is working toward a plan that will include preliminary heats and finals for distances 200 metres and shorter, with timed finals for distances 400 metres and longer. 

The organization also announced a pre-Tokyo Olympics camp in Toyota, Japan has been cancelled. Instead, the team will convene in Vancouver before travelling directly to the Games in July.

“Our long-standing partners at the University of British Columbia have shown incredible flexibility and hard work on short notice to enable us to hold a staging camp in Canada,” Swimming Canada high performance director John Atkinson said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 20, 2021.

The Canadian Press