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Matthew Swanston

Canadian in China

Category / Swimming

A Warning for Canadian Swimmers

John Atkinson is being promoted to High Performance “Dictator” right under our noses. And we’re letting it happen.

The 2015 Canadian Swimming Trials, taking place April 1st – 4th in Toronto, will serve as Canada’s selection meet for World Championships in the summer. The best swimmers in the country will race to earn spots on Canada’s national team. However, the country’s fastest swimmers may not be the ones granted the opportunity to represent Canada at World Championships. In fact, results at Trials might not even matter very much.

After examining the selection criteria (which you can download below), I came to a startling conclusion: if Swimming Canada High Performance Director John Atkinson fully exercises his power, he will have complete control to decide who will represent Canada at the World Championships. Allow me to prove it to you, beginning with swimmer selection.

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In the Line of Fire: CIS Swimming

“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.”

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Dear Swimming Canada: Figure it Out

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.

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5 Lessons Competitive Swimming Has Taught Me

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.

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