Preparations for 2019 Season & Update on Recent Swim Canada Letters


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June 19, 2019

MSO is preparing for the 2019-2020 season.  Registration will open in early August with an affiliation email to all club presidents. If your club executive has changed since August 2018, please update the information in the MSO system to ensure that the launch is properly directed.


Some of you will have received recent email letters from Swim Canada, Swim Ontario and Masters Swimming Canada.  None of these affect MSO or its operations.

On May 29th SC issued a well-planned and well-coordinated letter, just 3 days after Masters Swimming Canada’s (MSC) national event. The timing prevented discussion amongst the 750+ masters participants about its implications. The letter simply dismisses MSC and promises to replace it with a staff position and a “masters committee” sometime in September 2019.

This aggressive Swim Canada action leaves MSC and likely the two remaining provincial masters organization in BC and Manitoba, with no reliable funding. It jeopardizes their continued existence.

Swim Canada’s actions against MSC, BC and Manitoba do not affect MSO or its operations. MSO has operated independently since SNC and MSC expelled us from their “swimming family” in 2017.  Why? Because MSO did not hand over its membership list and with it the keys to our organization.  For the last two years,

  • MSO has continued to offer you a full meet schedule.
  • We have 64 member clubs and more than 2900 registered swimmers.
  • Instead of exclusionary rules, MSO created pathways to welcome ANY swimmer of masters age.
  • MSO’s Provincial Championship welcomed over 450 swimmers in each of 2018 and 2019.
  • We continue to offer our programs, including insurance coverage regardless of age, at very reasonable affordable prices for masters swimmers.
  • MSO continues to operate in the open and transparent manner our members expect; our notices, minutes and corporate documents are all available to the public.

On June 5th swimmers received an open letter from MSC. Having been blindsided it now advocates operating independently of SC and its Provincial sections, a position that MSO has supported for years!  In spite of the fences that MSC needs to mend in Ontario, MSO has offered assistance but has received no response.

MSC has not outlined a way forward in any of its follow up emails. Their survey does not invite comment, as observed by Alderwood on June 12th. (reprinted and shared with permission).

On June 6th Swim Ontario (SO) issued an Update letter, again signed by the new CEO of Swim Ontario, Dean Boles; it invited comment through the Swim Ontario Masters Committee.

MSO offered two comments.

First, on reviewing the tentative meet list, we note that SO is planning a December Pentathlon. It has no host club.  The SO Masters Committee is well aware, having been past participants, that their event coincides with the North York Gator’s December pentathlon, a meet that NYG has hosted since 1984.

Second, for many decades masters clubs and swimmers have poured thousands of volunteer hours into organizing masters meets and programs simply because they believed in the value of their sport and trusted their masters organizations to serve the whole masters community. They didn’t need to be paid to support an organization and a cause they believed in. That remains the case for the clubs and swimmers of MSO who voluntarily make our meets a success.

But, SO has not gained the trust and support of most masters in Ontario. It seems that SO has concluded that they must now pay incentives to clubs to do what they did voluntarily when part of a trusted organization that is run by them and for them.

In our conversation with Dan Thompson, President SO, on December 21, 2017, he noted that MSO and SO would coexist.  He requested that MSO be respectful as each organization served masters swimming in its own way.  I believe we at MSO have done that.

Many swimmers have grown tired of this constant struggle with Swim Canada and the kinds of well-orchestrated aggressive actions we have seen this month.  We need a national organization that is run by masters, for masters and with input from masters, a model that has been successful for decades.  MSO has two years of experience to lend in support of such an effort.


Board of Directors

Masters Swimming Ontario