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Jr. Masters & OFSAA Eligibility

Jr. Masters / Lakers Teen Swimming OFSAA Eligibility 

November 23, 2017 by Tony Field, Lakeshore Swim Club Registrar

Please note that there have been some questions about how our Jr. Masters / Lakers Teen Swimming program affects the category in which swimmers must compete at OFSAA. This article explains the situation.

Summary

Swimmers in Jr. Masers / Lakers Teen Swimming can't compete in the High School Division, but instead must compete in the Open Division.

Details

Some swimmers in the Jr. Masters / Lakers Teen Swimming program may find this disappointing or illogical. To attempt to understand the rationale behind this restriction, we can be informed by the 2017 OFSAA Co-educational Swimming Championship Playing Regulations themselves.

The regulations start with the following guiding statement, in bold and italics even before the title of the document:

The sole basis for the very existence of high school sport is the contribution it makes to the general educational experience of those students who participate. 

This indicates an inclination to learning and the high school experience. It is not a significant stretch to observe that a swim training program at any outside organization, whether competitive or not, is at the very least at odds with the notion of high school sport.

This inclination is made explicitly clear in OFSAA's definition of the High School Division swimmer, in which it states (our emphasis): 

A swimmer who exclusively trains with and competes with/for their high school and does not train or compete with/for any other aquatic program or program with an aquatic component." (section 1. (b) (i) (i)).

There are a couple of rules for swimmers who leave competitive programs and want to swim with the High School Division as well.

Finally, section 5 (d) offers that High school coaches who have swimmers participating in recreational or non-competitive swim programs may petition for eligibility in the High School Division by December 31st. Our club does not have direct experience with the petition process, however, we have inquired in the past and OFSAA doesn't seem to be willing to grant this (and the above rules and guiding principles seem to explain why). This undated letter from the OFSAA Assistant Director to Swim Ontario further reiterates their position on the matter.

We hope this clarifies this tricky situation.