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Swimming Canada says a contingency plan is in preparation for the Olympic Trials

Swimming Canada says a contingency plan is in preparation for the Olympic Trials

MONTREAL — Swimming Canada says a contingency plan for the Olympic and Paralympic trials is in the works following the extended closure of the Olympic pool in Montreal.

MONTREAL — Swimming Canada says a contingency plan for the Olympic and Paralympic trials is in the works following the extended closure of the Olympic pool in Montreal.

The national trials — selection of Canada's swimming team for this summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris — were scheduled for May 13-19 in the Olympic pool.

However, the Olympic Park announced on Wednesday that the sports complex at the National Institute of Sport of Quebec (INS Quebec) will remain closed for four to six months due to a fire outside the Olympic Stadium on March 21.

Swimming Canada says it intends to keep the same dates and is focusing on holding the trials at an alternative location in the Montreal area.

“We know that day-to-day plans for the Olympic and Paralympic year are made months in advance. We are also aware that with trials less than six weeks away, participants have now booked travel to and accommodations in Montreal,” Susan Pullins, acting CEO of Swimming Canada, said in a statement. “.

“We are diligently working on contingency plans to hold the event in Montreal on the scheduled dates of May 13-19.”

The competition venue must have a 50-meter pool, sufficient capacity for participants and spectators, and allow the event to be broadcast.

The governing body will meet with key partners in the coming days to determine next steps and hopes to share a detailed plan next week.

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“We know that our athletes are resilient and adaptable, and so are our staff,” Bullins said. “We are doing everything we can to minimize disruption, and we are confident in our ability to deliver a top-class swimming meet that will qualify us for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Although the fire did not cause any injuries, the Olympic Park said that significant damage was caused to the tower due to smoke and water leaking from firefighters trying to put out the fire.

Other federations have also been affected and need to find new venues for athletes to continue preparing for the Games. Judo Canada quickly moved its training to the Ibon Judo Club in Montreal.

“It would be a lie to say there is no effect,” Canadian judo coach Antoine Bouchard said. “We were out of our comfort zone. We were used to training at INS, getting good support, and suddenly everything turned upside down.

“But I think once the issue arose, Judo Canada pivoted to find the best possible solution for us to continue training with minimal impact. Our full-time group can train there. So, that's very good.”

Bouchard compared it to the COVID-19 pandemic, which more broadly led to the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“With COVID, we had limited access to training partners and our facilities were not accessible,” Bouchard said. “But I think Judo Canada adapted very quickly to find a temporary solution.”

The Olympic Games will be held in Paris from July 26 to August 11, followed by the Paralympics from August 28 to September. 8.

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-With files from Tommy Thurber.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 4, 2024.

Canadian Press

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