An Open letter to all Masters Swimmers

Dear Swimmers,

By now, many of you will have seen a letter from your Provincial Swim Organization and Swimming Canada (SNC) indicating that they have decided to sever relations with Masters Swimming Canada (MSC) effective immediately. We were informed of this on Wednesday, May 29th on a call from SNC. That means the provinces will no longer be collecting our fees, and SNC will not sanction any of our competitions. Both have done so for about four decades.  We were appalled with this decision. It was our understanding that communications and relations with SNC and the provinces had been open and positive. MSC only supports Masters Swimmers and you are not just another group to us, you are our only group.

MSC has been running value-added programs and National Championships for 40 years.  Our goal has always been the same: to promote involvement and lifelong engagement in the Masters Swimming community through programs, competition, coaching, and strategic partnerships.  To that end, we have worked hard to form strong partnerships with several organizations, including Open Water Swimming and Triathlon.  We just completed our 40th National Championships in Montreal with a record attendance of 750 swimmers.  The weekend was filled with tremendous personal accomplishments, Canadian and World Records, and great fun and friendship. Unfortunately, as we have now lost sanctioning to run our Championships, we do not know if we will be able to hold the 41st National Championships in Etobicoke for you next year. That is not, however, clear at this point in time.

Going forward we will make our best efforts to communicate with our members about the next steps, and to provide clarity around what the changes will mean for Masters Swimmers. Our only focus is you – always has been and always will be, the Masters Swimming community.

We didn't want a long letter but think we all need a little history in this extraordinary news. Masters Swimming Canada (MSC) has been a member of SNC for its 40 years. Either as a Committee of SNC or eventually as an incorporated entity within SNC. SNC and MSC worked collectively to create that membership relationship and incorporation of MSC as an autonomous body within SNC. Since that membership relationship was formed MSC has directed its own affairs, promoting adult swimming and offering programming to adult swimmers in Canada.  Aquatics Canada is the Federation of aquatics organizations in Canada recognized by FINA, the World sports governing body. MSC is a member of the Aquatics Canada family by virtue of its membership in SNC. Aquatics Canada receives its sanctioning rights for competitions from FINA and in turn grants it to MSC through SNC and its Provincial Sections. MSC has worked within this relationships for its 40 years.

Each country is different in how aquatics is governed but all countries have a single entity such as Aquatics Canada that receives its sanctioning rights from FINA. As an example United States Masters Swimming (USMS) is a direct non voting member of Aquatics USA and governs its own affairs within.

We understand that in order for Masters Swimming Canada to continue we would have to become something similar to USMS.

In light of SNC’s decision, MSC would like to hear from you, our members. As a Board we feel we have two options:

  1. MSC to continue under another structure to represent the Master Swimmers of Canada.
  2. MSC to cease operations after 40 years and Masters Swimming to be taken over by SNC.

As members, if you choose to remain with MSC, the Board, in the coming months, will use its best efforts to devise a plan for registration, sanctioning, etc. We will continue the programs introduced in the past years including the Nationals, swim challenges, and coaching modules, to name just a few. MSC would attempt to continue for you and only you, our members, Canadian Masters Swimmers.

To know what direction, you would like us to go, please click on this link:

and select your choice for the future. Please forward this to your swimming friends. Your vote matters, so please vote.

Additionally, if you feel strongly about the recent events affecting Masters Swimmers, then please take the time as an individual or club, to write or call Kirsty Duncan, the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, or 613-995-4702.

If you wish to do so, the following text may be helpful:

Dear Minister Duncan,

I am writing to you out of concern with regard to the recent decision by Swimming Canada to sever ties with Masters Swimming Canada (MSC).  MSC is unique in its mission to provide programs and services to Masters swimmers, and I believe you need to take action to ensure that MSC maintains this role. Or, alternatively, to make Masters Swimming a part of Aquatics Canada.  I know that this Ministry and the government place a high priority on the health and well-being of Canadians.  Please use your capacity as Minster to have Swimming Canada change this decision.

This is a fluid situation and we will be making our best efforts to keep your experience uncluttered with politics, and will do our utmost to keep you up to date on an ongoing basis.

Please do not hesitate to contact our Executive Director, Doug Hannum (, if you have any questions or concerns.

Yours always in Swimming,

Ralph Ades, President

cc:          Board of Directors

Doug Hannum, Executive Director

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