Message from SNC HP Director, John Atkinson - Nov.2013

SNC NEW and UPDATED Information for 2014 from John Atkinson National High Performance Director

NEW Canada Cup 

I look forward to seeing those of you attending the Canada Cup meet in Toronto racing hard whilst in training, resist the temptation to taper and or shave for this meet. The trials next year are the priority.


Policies are now published for the following Events:

  1. 2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow, Scotland (Selected from the trials in Victoria 2nd to 5th April).  CLICK HERE
  2. 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, Gold Coast, Australia Pool and Open Water combined policy. The pool team will be selected from the trials in Victoria 2nd to 5th April, Open Water team selected from the FINA 10Km World Cup Manzanillo, Mexico 5th April 2014 and the Fort Myers Trials 12th April 2014.  CLICK HERE 
  3. The Youth Olympic Games China (selected from the trials in Victoria 2nd to 5th April). This policy is currently with the Canadian Olympic Committee for final approval; this policy will be posted when confirmed.
  4. Junior Pan Pacific Championships, Maui, Hawaii, Pool team (phase one selections from the trials in Victoria 2nd to 5th April, phase two selections from the Summer Nationals). CLICK HERE
  5. Junior Pan Pacific Championships, open water, selected from the Flowers 10Km Swim Cayman Island’s, the dates are as follows:
    • 14th June 2014 for the 1 mile
    • 16th June 2014 for 10km – this will be the selection race 

More details will follow on this event. There will also be a number of Junior aged swimmers identified from the SNC trials in Victoria from the 1500 freestyle event to be financially supported to the Cayman swims. However it should be noted that all swimmers wishing to be selected can enter the swims and do this under their own steam (i.e. own cost) to also be considered for selected for the Junior Pan Pacific Open water events.

The selection will be from the 10K swim. CLICK HERE

The policy for the December 2014 FINA 25m World Short Course Championships will be developed in due course.

General Selection Principles through to Rio 2016

  • Primary selection for individual events will be focused around a world level “Top 16” standard
  • For 2014, the “Top 16” standard is based on the 16th place time in prelims from the 2013 Worlds
  • Primary selection for free relay events will be focused around a world level “Top 8” standard
  • For 2014, the “Top 8” standard is based on the 8th place time in prelims from the 2013 Worlds
  • Medley relays will be selected from within the selected team
  • We will be using “Age-weighted” standards based on our “On Track” times to fill team quotas for some competitions as a development strategy

Within the selection policies they will address Championships and or Games specific issues and phases of priority order for selection will be used. This change will mean that selections will not be announced as we go through the trials and the final make up of the senior teams will be announced following the conclusion of the final event of the championships. 

All swimmers/coaches should stay for the final session and team announcements, all selected Pan Pacific Championships and Commonwealth Games team members will be required to stay for mandatory team meetings that will take place on the 6th April, details will be circulated. 

UPDATE Trials and compulsory team meetings 

All selected national pool team members for the Pan Pacific Championships and Commonwealth Games must ensure they stay in Victoria for the day following the trials for compulsory team meetings (details of these meeting are in the national team planer document) . Athletes not attending can be deselected.

The trials dates are the 2nd to 5th April in Victoria and the compulsory meetings will be conducted on the 6th April, so all must ensure they book their flights and accommodation taking into consideration this requirement. Swimmers meetings will be concluded by 12 noon and the staff/coaches by 4pm

UPDATE Canada Cup Vancouver Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th May 

All selected National Team members for the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships and the Commonwealth Games will be required to attend (including coaching staff) and race in the competition, please do ensure this is in your plans for 2014.

On Thursday 22nd selected swimmers will be required to attend a communications and media day. For further details, please contact Nathan White (

We will swim the National Team relays during the meet, exact makeup of the teams will be worked out and the tentative schedule will be as below. All relay team members will be required to make themselves available for these races.

The plan will be as follows: 

  • Fri 23rd May  - 4 x 100 free team in finals,
  • Sat 24th May - Team Meeting following heats,
  • Sat 24th May - 4 x 200 free team in finals,
  • Sun 25th May - 4 x 100 medley relay after heats

Selected coaches will coordinate these relays.

A Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships full team meeting will be conducted immediately following the heats on the Saturday morning.

UPDATE Open Water Swimming 

The dates for the FINA Open Water Grand Prix series and Open Water World Cups have been included in our calendar documents that are available on the Swimming Canada website – CLICK HERE

I have received our carded open water swimmers plans and look forward to seeing the swimmers develop this next year. 

We will be adding extra racing opportunities for our open water swimmers in FINA events, details to follow. 

NEW Own The Podium Plans 

The Swimming Canada High Performance plan was presented to Own the Podium on the 6th November. All sports, Olympic and Paralympic, will present throughout November and OTP will look to make funding decisions through January 2014. Initial feedback that we have received is that the plans were well received.

NEW Olympic Impact Coaching Group 

Swimming Canada has established an Olympic Impact Coaching Group for pool swimming, made up of coaches who had athletes making individual finals at the FINA 50M World Championships in Barcelona in 2013, along with the coaches, the Swimming Canada IST Director and the National Team Manager will also attend these meetings. 

Further coaches will be considered for addition to this group following the 2014 season, any additional coaches with swimmers ranked in the top 8 in the World Rankings following the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships and Commonwealth Games will be invited. This group will be a sounding board for Swimming Canada plans and policies. For Open Water Swimming another group will be considered following outcomes of our plans presented and submitted to OTP.

NEW Swimming Canada and the CSCTA 

The NHPD has been in contact with the CSTCA Executive Director and President to arrange on going catch up meetings, the first of which will take place in November. These will be on a regular occurrence in the go forwards. Swimming Canada and the CSCTA will investigate how they can work together on a number of initiatives.

NEW Defining High Performance 

Swimming Canada has worked on the definition of High Performance and this is what we mean when we are discussing High Performance with Own The Podium.

Achieving high performance is a medal winning performance at the Olympic Games and/or at the FINA 50M World Long Course Championships. An athlete reaching the final at one of these two events would be considered a high performance athlete. We have also worked on developing our age related Swimming Canada 'On Track times', and athletes of a defined age can be considered as on track to high performance when achieving these standards. Of course it does not mean that an athlete cannot come back into the mix as a high performing athlete.  A key to this is continual improvement. This can be different for different athletes, however the need to improve faster than the rest of the world is paramount for any potential success at the world level.

The following is an example of improvement of 2% a year over a 4 year period.  This was achieved by a medal-winning athlete this year at the World Championships and can be a model to look to how one can improve. 

This is a male 200-metre Breaststroke example, using 2:06.00 as a medal target time in Rio. Working back from the target time we can see where the athlete would need to be at each stage leading up to 2016 (this can be done for all events).






SNC Trials










Major Champs or Games Games







NEW National Senior Team Planner and Calendar  

Please refer to the following links for all relevant dates, amendments and changes in RED print, however it is advised to check all dates:

UPDATE Carded coaches meetings 

During March 2014 Swimming Canada has established a series of meetings across the country for carded coaches (i.e. A coach with a carded athlete) to attend. There will be smaller numbers attending these meetings, therefore creating an environment to deliver a variety of information and take questions on this information. We will also invite other coaches as appropriate to these meetings.

UPDATE A new initiative, Relay ‘Take off’ camps 

The male camp has been established, swimmers identified and communication is on going with regard to the plans. 

39 males, aged 19 and under, who are 100m and 200m Freestyle swimmers have been invited to attend this camp in Victoria following the trials in April 2014. The takeoff camp will take place on the 6th & 7th April. 

The goal is to identify and develop a group of male 100m & 200m freestylers capable of winning a medal in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.   The identified group will attend a development tour in May 2014. This development will be continued through the quad to Rio.

We will be identifying and communicating to our female athletes in the near future.  The female camp will target 17 year olds and under and the camp will follow the Canadian Age Championships in 2014 on July 28th in Winnipeg. Identified swimmers will be written to in advance so that arrangements can be made.

UPDATE National Event Camps October 2014

This is an advance warning for all swimmers and coaches, that the length of the event camp has been amended for 2014 and will commence as previously planned, however it will conclude slightly earlier on Wednesday 23rd October 2014 (i.e. 19th to 23rd October 2014).  Fifty swimmers will be selected for this camp.

The camp will include pool and open water swimmers and will be required attendance for those identified to attend, 

Philosophy and Concept

  • National Event Camps are intended to develop a larger group of swimmers (senior and junior) and coaches able to move to a ‘world level’.
  • The National Event Camp program will not only provide development opportunities for swimmers, but coaches, managers and sports science staff as well. 
  • Creating an environment where the best athletes train alongside each other and push each other forward during the camp
  • Including Junior athletes where appropriate will accelerate their improvement and knowledge. 
  • Event Coaches will be identified based on international expertise, high performance credentials, and proven ability to progress a group of athletes and their coaches.
  • Event Coaches will be challenged to deliver a world-class program and develop a cutting edge approach to their assigned events.
  • It is essential these camps are focused on the World level and all swimmers and attending staff are focused on what it will take to become world class.  In this environment knowledge and experience can be passed onto all attending.
  • The benefits of these camps are to have a group of performance athletes’ train together under the direction of Swimming Canada for key periods in each season, and throughout the quadrennial to Rio.

NEW September dates to be communicated  

There will be a Swimming Canada and CSCTA combined conference in September 2014, details will be communicated when known. There will be a carded coaches meeting coordinated at this event. A contribution toward carded coaches attendance will be made. This will be a key delivery vehicle of our High Performance plans for the future. 

John Atkinson
Swimming Canada
National High Performance Director