Swimming Canada recently published an article titled “Q&A with High Performance Director John Atkinson.” Some of the questions and answers made specific reference to elements from my recent articles, which got me excited. To continue the discussion, I decided to draft my own response to Swimming Canada’s article, section by section. Here it is.
Author / matthewswanston25
“I just want to thank you for speaking up for those who can’t in fear of the repercussions of doing so.”
“Politics is probably the main reason people are not complaining loudly enough.”
“There needs to be more voices heard than those at the top and those who are next to people of power.”
Swimming Canada needs to stop disincentivizing its athletes from continuing to swim if it wants to have international success.
Last year, in a move that was notably outrageous even considering its long history of irrational behaviour, Swimming Canada produced a frustratingly confusing document outlining the selection criteria for its Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships teams. By the time the Trials finally arrived in April, it seemed nobody on the pool deck had managed to decipher it. “Just swim fast and we’ll see what happens,” were the words rolling off every coach’s tongue as they too struggled to make sense of it. I doubt even John Atkinson, the High Performance Director credited with its design, fully understood its implications.
After hanging up the suit and goggles, I took some time to reflect on the lessons I learned during my 17 years swimming – lessons I’ll tuck in my back pocket for the next stage of life. When Mike asked me to write this article, I decided I wanted to avoid rehashing the conventional wisdom; of course I could write endlessly on the importance of perseverance and dedication, but we’ve all heard it more times than the Frozen soundtrack. Although the following ideas may not be ground-breaking or relevant to everyone, I hope they strike a chord somewhere.
In this digital age, information is so accessible and travels so rapidly, a single piece of writing can cause global shock waves.
Although you may not consider yourself a “writer,” the text message you sent earlier is all the qualification you need. In today’s world, proficiency in writing is more important than ever, evidenced by the widespread popularity of online communication. The internet has made our writing visible. Through email, social media, website forums and more, we regularly express ourselves without using our vocal cords. That’s all writing is: the imperfect translation of swirling abstract thoughts into precise nonverbal language for the purpose of expressing an idea. Yes, even a 140-character tweet counts. But if the idea isn’t articulated well, it could be misinterpreted.