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Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centre reopens after COVID-related closure

Swimming Canada has reopened its Ontario High Performance Center in Toronto after temporarily closing it on Jan. 8 after a swimmer tested positive for COVID-19.
Swimming Canada has reopened its Ontario High Performance Center in Toronto after temporarily closing it on Jan. 8 after a swimmer tested positive for COVID-19.

After following a strict protocol due to the recent temporary closure of the High Performance Centre – Ontario, the majority of swimmers returned to training this week.

Swimming Canada closed the centre on January 8 due to a positive COVID-19 test, as a precautionary measure in line with the organization’s internal protocols, as well as Government of Ontario and City of Toronto health and safety regulations.

The affected individual is receiving ongoing medical advice and monitoring, and a small group of close contacts are self-isolating as per public health guidelines.

Following a review in consultation with medical staff and submission of information to Toronto Public Health, the remaining swimmers and staff were deemed to be of low risk for exposure based on their adherence to protocols in place. Therefore, this group was able return to the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre pool following a negative COVID-19 test.

“Friday was a very difficult day, but we always knew it was a possibility. We immediately followed the plans and protocols we have in place. The fact that there was no transmission in the training environment—either the pool or the strength and conditioning centre—shows our risk mitigation strategies are working,” said High Performance director John Atkinson.

“I’m glad we were able to get the majority of athletes back into the pool as quickly as possible.”

With the Olympic & Paralympic Swimming Trials scheduled for April 7 to 11 at the centre, Swimming Canada continues to actively review the current situation with the global COVID-19 pandemic. A review of the public health situation and how it relates to the ability to provide a safe environment for all participants will be undertaken on or before Feb. 15.

Swimming Canada reserves the right to modify or cancel the trials at any point, should it be determined to be unsafe to proceed or be requested for the sake of public health and safety. In this case, Swimming Canada may nominate swimmers to Team Canada by other means based on exceptional circumstances.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience as the situation is constantly changing, and is different in different parts of the country,” said CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “We recognize the heavy impact on all of our athletes. Our preference is to hold trials if it is safe to do so, but we can’t predict the unpredictable.”

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