Swimming Canada announces “Canadian Way” for 2025 to 2028
Swimming Canada is announcing plans for its program of national events from 2025 through to the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The organization’s High Performance department conducted an eight-month consultation process. This included the Athlete Advisory Council and other national team athletes, coaches of Sport Canada Athlete Assistance Program (“carded”) athletes, provincial executive directors and technical leads, high performance staff, technical experts and performance science staff.
“We have completed a full consultation process for the national events program and developed a ‘Canadian Way’ to move the program through to 2028 and beyond,” said High Performance Director and National Coach John Atkinson. “We are delighted to have determined this Canadian Way for the road to the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and beyond.”
The major change will see a later trials in each year of the quadrennial, with a five-week window from the conclusion of trials to the major international swimming championships or Games. The exception will be the 2026 Commonwealth Games, which will be selected from a number of summer 2025 events.
Swimming Canada will also develop a summer national short course (25m) championships. Other changes will see the provinces being able to develop a strong provincial competition network well into the summer each year, replacing the need for the Eastern and Western Championships after 2024.
The later trials will continue to have junior finals to allow the best juniors vital competition exposure.
“Our program has athletes in different programs such as clubs, universities and Swimming Canada High Performance Centres in Canada, as well as club and university programs outside of Canada. This new Canadian Way allows all to buy in fully to the national plan, as well as allowing all swimmers in Canada to have a later summer racing opportunity in Canada,” Atkinson said.
“If we continue to do what we have always done we will not develop at the rate we need to. These changes set up a Canadian model that all can buy into and work toward. It also allows each province the opportunity to make their swimming competitions more dynamic and important toward the development of a national strategy.”
The Swimming Canada team planner document 2023 to 2028 is available here.
Here’s what several members of the swimming community had to say about the changes:
Dean Boles, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technical Officer, Swim Ontario
The Swimming Canada plans now in place for 2025 to 2028 will allow for a number of things to happen in the sport of swimming, ranging from a robust national team program and team selection process, to allowing all provinces to formulate strong provincial competition plans and training blocks to create strong pathways for their province and for Canada.
Tom Vandenbogaerde, PhD, Performance Scientist Coach, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific/Swimming Canada
Individualizing the final preparation of athletes into a selection trials and major championships is especially important, because individual athletes prepare for different competition schedules, and because individual athletes respond differently to training and to rest. There is less room for mistakes in the final few weeks of preparation, where not just physical readiness, but also confidence and mental preparedness are of utmost importance. The planning and monitoring of these final preparation processes in the consistent double-peak structure in the 2025-2028 Los Angeles Olympic cycle, with selection trials five to six weeks before the 2025 World Championships, the 2026 Pan Pacific Championships, the 2027 World Championships, then the 2028 Olympic Games, will allow coaches and athletes to fine tune these processes over time. It will be an excellent opportunity to rehearse and optimize a swimmer’s final preparation for performance on the national and world stage.
Summer McIntosh, 2x world champion and world record holder
While being totally focused on the next two seasons to Paris, it is great to know Swimming Canada are planning to 2028. When John sat down with my coach Brent and me, and he explained the plan to 2028 it was exciting to learn the details. I will be ready to perform whenever the trials are placed. Knowing the trials will be later from 2025 onwards allows us to plan ahead and it will fit what we need to do very well.
Scott Talbot, Head Coach, Swimming Canada High Performance Centre -Vancouver
It is great that we have the plan to 2028 in place and we can now all work forwards. Having a later trials will develop our programs further. It also allows for Swimming Canada to select ‘in form’ swimmers. Once selection has been achieved, a real short-term focus on improving at the Games or championships can be put into place. Going into the staging camp after trials with best-on-best in camp training will enhance performance.
Mike Blondal, Head Coach, University of Calgary
After many Olympic cycles with an early April trials, Swimming Canada moving to a later trials is a positive adjustment for all coaches for sure. On the very few times that we have had a later trials the team has performed well at the subsequent international competition. As a coach at a university program this change will allow swimmers to prepare and cycle their training better. For the majority of the senior team being post high school, this moves the trials away from university exams and academics therefore allowing them to prepare with a full training block without compromise. It also moves the trials away from winter schooling into a better climate for training and racing, putting the focus on a quality trials for all within five weeks of the major international competition.
Wayne Lomas, Associate Performance Director/National Para Swimming Coach
Developing and implementing our Canadian Way is an important evolution for our national program. The international Para swimming calendar suffers from a lack of certainty, so the Canadian Way gives our swimmers and coaches a better road map toward the major events of the cycle. Although the Trials may not always be exactly five weeks from major Para swimming events, the scientific support, monitoring, and learning that our system gains from this will be transferrable and beneficial to all. Having the ability to select the most in form swimmers in the summer months, while also reducing distractions between selection and competition, will enhance the opportunity for peak performance at major events.
Josh Liendo, 3x world championships medallist
I appreciated being consulted on the plans in advance, and talking with John about the later trials. I believe this will work well for all in Canada from 2025 onwards. We can always be ready to swim fast whenever the trials are like this year and in 2024, and knowing the plan from 2025 to 2028 is exciting.