Return to Swim in 2021 - December 29th Meeting Notes

New Club Structure:

We simplified the structure of the club to include 4 tiers of programming with a lead program coach.

National – lead coach Bill O’Toole. Will work closely with coach Nick Flint + Assistant Coaches Madelaine Dixon and Dimitri Petropoulos.  Main pool – TPASC.

Senior – primary coaches Nick Flint and Amanda Andal will be working closely together with constant communication and direction from Kris Bell.  Main pool – Sheraton. 

Junior – lead coach Kris Bell. Will work closely with coach Madelaine Dixon and Dimitri Petropoulos.  Main pool Midland (JA, JB), Champagne (JC, JD, JE).

Youth – lead coach Jane Wright. Will work closely with coach Kirsty Andrews, Madelaine Dixon and Tamsin Andrews. Main pool Main Square, Beaches, Champagne (YA), Main Square, Beaches (YB), Champagne (YC, YD).

Academy – lead coach Kirsty Andrews. Will work closely with coach Tamsin Andrews. Main pool : TBD.  

***Some additional city of Toronto pool time will hopefully be added to current plans***


  • One lead coach will be overseeing the entire National, Senior, Junior, Youth, Academy program.
  • Lead coaches being able to see more and be more involved.
  • Focus on supporting the athletes and coaches.
  • Being able to work closely together within the youth, junior, senior, national programs.
  • Similar sets, games, activities.
  • More staff support and mentoring within the coaching staff.
  • Taking better advantage of the facilities that we have already secured (ie TPSAC, Sheraton, Midland, Champagne, Main Square, Beaches) 


  • Fees have not changed.
  • Anyone that moved into a group with a different annual fee - their fees will be handled as per normal mid-season moves.
  • Fee changes will be prorated over the last 6 months of the year.

Questions regarding group placements?

  • Please direct all group placement questions to the current coach. 
  • Placements were chosen by the entire staff.
  • 100% based on training. Not competition as there have been none.
  • We have looked at what the athletes have been doing since they started training in August/September.  



How were the groups decided? 

Training capacity. Coaches made the groups that they felt would best support each other in training.

I was under the impression that these group placements are staying as is for the rest of the year. Based on what you just said this is not necessarily the case. Please clarify. 

We needed to make changes to support our membership. Ideal scenario to go into a winter break and start a new bubble. We will continue to re-evaluate as new facilities re-open.

Training Schedule:

Will there be a new pool schedule?  When will that be released? 

Waiting on the city of Toronto programming / lessons plan. We have a close to final schedule and hope to release the schedule by mid January once we hear more from the City. We will expand what we currently have in place once the city formally announces they are not running lessons.  

Just to clarify - the pool listed is the ONLY pool the group would swim at...regardless of the number of practices? 

Yes, we are trying to keep swimmers at a minimum number of pools. For example, JA will swim at Midland pool.

Will the zoom workout schedule change at all? 

Coaches will be sending out their zoom schedule on January 3rd. It will be similar programming to what was offered in December.

When are the different group WhatsApp chats going to be started? 

Coaches will be creating new WhatsApp group chats.

Are there any plans to have a training camp over march break?  Locally, of course? 

We are definitely looking at something for spring break, along with some different training and skill camps for the summer. Always looking for ways to expand.


What happens to fees if swimming does not start again? 

We do not know. Day by day basis. Our assumption is that the lockdown will be lifted January 25. If that changes, we will address it in the same way we did in the Spring. We can only plan for what we know. We will adapt and make changes:  like all of us have been doing over the last year.

Does each group pay essentially the same hourly rate per swimmer? 

We are in a situation where our pool time is much more expensive, and we can only put half as many kids in the pool. Other clubs have been charging more or chopped off the bottom half of their program. We are trying to provide the best programming we can while working hard to keep fees the same. This new structure will make better use of our facilities and help with costs. We are looking at a deficit of $250-300k this year. We have a healthy reserve and want to avoid having to charge a levy.  That has been our main focus with fees so have not considered hourly rate per swimmer, etc.  Just trying to manage through this pandemic and have as little impact as possible on families while trying to keep deficit in check.

Will we be able to swim if Toronto stays in grey zone after Jan 25?

Unfortunately, if Toronto stays in the grey zone it will mean that we, along with all other clubs in the same area, will not be able to swim.


Do we expect any competitive meets in the upcoming year?

No information on this right now.

Swim Ontario. re meets? Are they all cancelled?

Yes – we are in the grey zone. All meets are currently cancelled.

Will we do time trials in practice?

Once the grey zone is lifted, and pending facility approval, we will be able to continue with unsanctioned mini meets.

What about timed trials? Will we be able to run a mini meet at TPASC?

Not allowed to run time trials. Cancelled while we are in the grey zone. Any meet or time trial is a wait and see at this point based on guidelines from the government. Focus is to stay healthy.

Training Facilities:

Are you still actively looking for additional pools if/when swimmers get back in the water (e.g. U of T, etc)?

We are always looking for the best way to support our members and are constantly in touch with other facilities.

Is the TDSB planning on opening up pools to rent?

We do not have any answers from the TDSB yet. It is not likely for this school year.   

The quality of swimming time at the other pools isn't the same as TPASC. 

It is what you make of the facility. Go in with an optimistic mind and do your best, it will go a long way.

We are extremely fortunate in Canada to have the facilities that we do.

Is the club at this point looking at getting our own TSC pool?

Focus is on getting through this year’s challenges.

Advocacy Efforts:

Any organized advocacy efforts regarding pool openings that parents can help with since swimming has been shown to be safe?

Yes – email sent out yesterday.

Government Subsidies:

I would expect there are government subsidies available we could apply for as a club?

We are taking advantage of the subsidies to the fullest. Any new opportunities moving forward will be fully explored.


Is it safe for one coach to be with so many athletes during the covid circumstances?

Yes, TSC follows a Return to Swim Plan that is approved by Swim Ontario, Swimming Canada and our training facilities.

Head-to-Head Mentorship:

Is there any follow-up on the head-to-head mentorship program?

Check your emails on January 4 for the workbooks.

Club Structure:

How will you assess swimmers for future moves with no meets?

Athletes are being assessed through training. More coaches get to see the athletes and see where they are best suited to go.

With the new structure will the new coach be placing kids for next year?

With more coaching eyes looking at all athletes there will be greater input into group placements. We are excited about this new club structure.  

Do you expect to go back to old structure for Fall 2021?

We do not know what the fall will bring. We will know the training capacity and be able to better place everyone. We do not know what the group names or structure will look like at this point.



TSC AGM - Thursday Oct 15th 6:15 - 7:30pm

Presentation, Notes and FAQ recap are posted here.  




TSC Return to Swim Meeting

Zoom Meeting - August 30, 2020

Please click here to view a recording of the meeting.  Passcode: .ME$8T%B

(this page is only visible to TSC members after login)

TSC Start Up Schedule FAQ

(shared in advance of Aug 30th meeting)

Current Schedule

Has the Start-Up Schedule been submitted to and approved by Swim Ontario and the facilities involved?

  • All clubs are required to submit a “Return to Sport Plan”. The plan includes Health Monitoring and Communication Procedures, Safe Sport, membership education, facility staffing, and details and procedures for pre, during and post workout.
  • TSC’s master plan was submitted in July and each additional facility represents an amendment to the plan and results in additional evaluation by Swim Ontario.

What kind of entry screening is happening at the various facilities? 

  • Families have an obligation to inform the club of any change in situation under the terms of the Swim Canada / Swim Ontario Covid Attestation that was signed at registration.
  • We expect families to perform a pre-screen before each practice and if any symptoms are present to keep their swimmer home. 
  • Confirmation of the screening questions will be administered by TSC on sight at each facility. 
  • Facilities have different levels of screening that they administer and / or require and we will comply with all requirements. 

What will happen if a swimmer or coach has been exposed? How will this affect the rest of the group and the club? Will all swimmers be required to have the contact tracing app installed on their phones?

  • Any positive covid exposure will be referred to Public Health for investigation and monitoring.  They will provide advice and guidance on what has to happen next.
  • As is their current protocol, Public Health will determine the level of testing required for swimmers / coaches / staff in the group as well as administer contact tracing. 
  • We will support this by having complete attendance lists as well as lane positioning for each practice.  
  • We cannot mandate use of the app for minors.  That is a family decision.

How will 2 groups train at the same time at the same facility?

When 2 groups are scheduled simultaneously, they will be supported by individual TSC staff members in separate areas to ensure social distancing protocols and staff athlete ratios. 

When are swimmers allowed to arrive at each facility?

Each swimmer will be allowed to begin entry no more than 15 minutes before the start of their session.

Several groups have less than normal or average pool time, will TSC procure additional time for these groups?

We are currently working at securing more pool time throughout the city. As more time becomes available, we will re-evaluate and assign pool time based on competition training needs. 

Could additional capacity at TPASC be freed up and shared with other groups if the number of allowable swimmers per lane increases? 

Yes.  And if TPASC is comfortable.  Each facility sets their rules within the broader guidelines.

What capacity at TPASC is planned? If it is more than the current 2 per lane, it may be possible for other groups to share the time.

Swim Ontario guidelines of users per lane is expected to increase as is the case in other provinces and once macro items like return to school have occurred and the outlook remains stable.

What are the contingency plans if the capacity goes back or is limited to 3/2/1 per lane?

A re-evaluation of current groups training, available facilities and swimmer per lane guidelines will be applied. The priority will be those athletes training for upcoming competition. 

Sheraton Pool

What is the capacity for the deck space and the pool in terms of number of swimmers from the outset on September 9 and the maximum under Swim Ontario/Swimming Canada guidelines?

  • Each facility has specific total numbers allowable by Toronto Health guidelines.
  • Swim Ontario guidelines for each space and pool are currently higher than our swimmer coach ratio as directed by Lifesaving Society Canada

What is the pool space at Sheraton?  From pictures, it appears there are only 4 lanes.

Sheraton has 5 over sized lanes and 2 lane ropes. We are exploring adding additional lane ropes. 

Where will dryland take place? Will the dryland location provide space for social distancing? 

  • A specific area has been reserved for all dryland activity at the Sheraton with washroom accessibility. The space will allow more than 2m between athletes and will be safely supervised by a TSC staff away from hotel guests and patrons. 
  • Sheraton will be cleaning/sanitizing the space before and after the TSC rental and has implemented a cleaning cycle for their common spaces. 
  • For other facilities, Swim Ontario has encouraged the continued use of online virtual programming

What are the building entrance, exit protocols?

  • It will be max number of people allowed in the elevator as per the hotel’s plan.  The hotel is subject to public health conditions as well. 
  • If one group is using the space, there will be 2 options to enter the training pool. Either social distancing marked escalator, elevator (2 per elevator) or outdoor path and stairs to pool.
  • If a second group is using the pool, entrance to the pool will be used via elevator and exit will be used via the outside stairs (on the property) and path.

Are the facilities conducive to training?

Yes.  Every facility available can support training and competing.

Are changerooms available?

No changerooms allowed at this time as per SNC/ SO guidelines. 

Pools Normally Used

Has there been further communication with UT, TDSB, Branksome and Havergal about allowing permits in the future?  

Yes.  And when they are allowed, they will be granted but as you can imagine, their focus right now is the safety of students as they return to school. In the meantime, we continue to explore current and alternative facilities including city pools.

Will UT open their facility to non-members?

We are in contact with all TSC training facilities regularly inquiring and providing Swim Ontario/Swimming Canada return to Sport guidelines to support or expedite a safe return.  

UT is opening lane swim for members of the broader community on Sep 8 so we are hopeful. 

Are there contingency plan/pool time booked for Thanksgiving onward?

Yes, the schedule we have can be extended. 

What pool time been secured for 2021?

Given the pandemic and significant impact of return to school in fall, every facility is working in blocks until the end of December. 

Deferral Options

Can a family that chooses a deferred start extend the deferral (e.g. initially choose October start but subsequently decide to defer until January).


If a family decides to defer and subsequently withdraw, will they get their deposit back?

No, the plan is to have a full program up and running by January so normal fee policies would apply if that is the case and the deposit would be non-refundable.

Will fees be adjusted to reflect decreased pool time?

 No.  For the following reasons:

  • hourly pool costs higher than what we are used to - not our usual pools
  • swimmers per lane drastically reduced due to public health and swim ontario protocols therefore have to reduce pool hours available to accommodate everyone 
  • over the next few weeks we will hopefully be able to add more swimmers per lane and therefore open up the programs more
  • may need even more staff to be able to monitor safety protocols etc. at all the sites (especially for younger kids and ones who haven’t been swimming yet)

Will groups be folded/combined if there is a large rate of deferral?

Groups will be modified to support athletes and allowable space.

Will pool time be added for some groups if there is a large rate of deferral?

Yes, pool time will be added and priority will be given to those groups preparing for competition. 

What will happen to fees paid and remaining installments if the season is scaled back or cancelled, or the additional pool time hoped for (in particular UT) does not materialize?

We cannot make any determination on that situation at this point.  If things change drastically and we are not able to offer a program to our membership after January, we will address the financial implications to our members and club at that time.  This is aligned with what we did this past spring and summer.



TSC Town Hall

Zoom Meeting Summary

Wednesday June 24, 2020 


How long do you think it will take our swimmers to get back to where they left off in March given the lengthy break?

  • Kids are going to get back in shape pretty fast. This will of course depend on how active a swimmer has been during the last several months, but most kids are keeping active, and they’ll bounce back pretty fast. They all have youth on their side.
  • The older U of T varsity swimmers finish in their season in February and then are off until September.  They have 6 months without swim and it takes them a month or two to get back to where they were. 


Is there concern that other clubs are going back sooner?

  • While a few clubs are trying to arrange pool time for some of their groups in July, we always planned July to be time off.  This was our plan even back in March when the club shut down.  The reason was we wanted to avoid uncertainty.  We wanted members to be able to plan their summer and coaches to have time off.   We will try and get the season kicked off earlier in mid to late August - if possible – for some groups.   


What will competitions look like?

  • Most of our athletes love to compete. It is the reason why they train, but competitions right now are a secondary priority to a safe return to training. Swimming Canada's Officials, Competitions and Rules Committee (OCRC), in collaboration with the provincial sections, is currently working on a framework for clubs to host meets. More guidelines will follow and be shared with our families.
  • There will be no meets in the Fall at this point. The team will do things like time trials and possibly virtual meets with another club (like NYAC) to keep the competitive concept alive. Even though Swim Ontario is keeping their big 18+under championships meet (OJI) on the schedule for December it is very tentative at this stage.
  • Come January there is the belief there will be meets but again they will be smaller than usual.  The coaching staff will be creative.
  • The meet schedule will look very different this coming season.


What is the requirement for the family points next season?

  • The Toronto Swim Club enjoys active participation by engaged parents and this volunteerism is vital to the social life and operation of the club. But given the significantly diminished competition schedule set for next year, there will be no financial penalty next year for those families who do not accumulate their required number of participation points.
  • The only caveat is that the Board will revisit this policy in the New Year should our capacity to compete and to socialize change significantly. If things shift when we revisit and should we re-instate - it would be done with proper notice. 


Given the circumstances, has the Board considered not growing membership this season?

  • The Toronto Swim Club has grown in exciting ways over the last few years, and this growth has created tremendous opportunities for success in swimming. There is an ongoing conversation at the level of the Board and among the coaching staff about the Club’s optimal number of swimmers. It is an open question. But this is not the year to either grow or reduce the number of swimmers. Instead, the focus is to respond to the number of returning swimmers and to adjust programming accordingly.


Swim Canada's outline for safe return to swim training offers a lot of potential for safety, but many members want to understand clearly how things will look and will be implemented for TSC athletes.

  • Swim Ontario has suggested a staged approach to club training. The recommendation is to be two swimmers per lane for up to three weeks prior to being able to expand to three per lane. 
  • One pool (TPASC) is starting with three per lane right away but that will likely be the exception.
  • The initial Swim Canada recommendation was one swimmer per lane.  Swim Ontario then published their added guidance on two per lane. The facilities are free to require whatever they want so we could see them institute the one per lane or the two per lane.
  • Note that Social activities like public swim are more than likely to start with the one per lane. Programmed activity, like club swimming, would likely start with two per lane.
  • Additionally, any TSC plan for numbers and protocols will need input and sign off from public health.  There is oversight, protocol, and planning that will need to go into it. 


In September, will all the swimmers get back to the pool for practice? If not, are they still going to have the dry land training instead like this past spring term?

  • The 2020-2021 swimming season will not be normal. There will be challenges for all swim clubs, and we can anticipate many of them. What we may have a harder time imagining are the opportunities that the upcoming season presents. These will include a constellation of goals that our athletes will set in regards to strength, agility, and flexibility. 
  • In short, we know that you trust the Toronto Swim Club with your children because the Club makes them better swimmers and also provides them with a sense of purpose and community. We are confident that this sense of purpose and community will remain regardless of how we are able to negotiate our access to pools.
  • We will supplement with dryland as we go – online and where possible, in a studio with certified dryland coaches.  We plan to outsource 100% of the dryland coaching.  A silver lining of the pandemic is that we have witnessed how effective online training can be.   
  • This dryland plan is for the competitive stream, not academy. 


How will the club manage the pool deck? Arrivals? Departures? Parents? Coaches?

  • Swimmers need to come ready to swim which will be easier in Sept/Oct than winter. 
  • Social distancing will be required on the pool deck just like our life outside the pool. 
  • Equipment is your equipment and swimmers can’t leave equipment bags at U of T or share equipment. 
  • Pickup / dropoff will be setup in a way to manage social distancing for parents. 
  • All the final protocols will be shared in early September before the return to pool either through a call or emailed document. 


Many health experts are expecting a "second wave" of COVID-19 infection, which is likely to lead to pulling back in openings and activities. What is the Club’s plan for that time when it comes to refunds?

  • If we can give money back without putting the club in jeopardy we will. This spring, we were able to provide refunds due to reduced costs around pool rentals and government subsidies.  How we respond to a potential second wave in the future will depend on the circumstances at that time.    


Has the club considered deferring registration until we know what is happening in September?  Can refunds be applied as a credit to next year’s registration?

  • We did discuss this as a board but decided to go ahead as we needed to plan.   We need to hire and re-hire coaches.  We need to book pool time.  We also need to give people a sense of what is happening as some clubs are already back swimming.  There is lead time to book pool time and it’s important to understand numbers for bookings. 
  • We are asking people to register who want to.  If you don’t know – you don’t have to. 
  • Yes, you can apply your credit against your registration for next season.


What happens if a swimmer or a coach tests positive?

  • This will be a Swim Ontario question and we’ll get input from a number of sources before identifying the protocol in advance of the season. 
  • The current plan with the Canadian National team, who just got in water, if one tests positive the whole group is out for 14 days. 
  • Things may change come September as we are talking 2 months away.  We’ll see what guidelines will apply to schools etc.  Good news is there is a lot of testing capacity in Ontario. 
  • There will also be requirements if a TSC swimmers were exposed elsewhere that they would need to let TSC know


Swimming is dependent on infrastructure – TDBS pools, etc.  What is our sense if that will impact our season?

  • TDSB has allowed us to submit our permit requests so we’ll know better soon – likely early August.  U of T is not opening until labour day.  TBD on how much space we have vs lane swim etc. but we also have our time requests in.  Private school pools are in the same situation currently as their pools are drained but they will want to run programming in the fall. 


Do we know the amount of pool time swimmers will get in season?  Would there be differences to pool availability – will some groups have priority access to pool time?

  • This is a good question and fair question.  First, we need to understand our pool time inventory and we’ll have a clearer picture in early August.  This is a long standing question and relates to equity piece – our goal is that we provide the right training environment and program no matter what that schedule is. 
  • As an added comment, at U of T we have extra time requests in for Saturday afternoons and Sunday morning to get as much water time as we can get. 


Is there anything more Academy swimmers need to know?

  • Nothing further / nothing different right now. 


Anything more we know about contact tracing?  Will we use those apps?

  • Contract tracing is easy to manage within the club because we take attendance at every practice, we have rosters, and we know who was where and on what day.


How will handle changes as we go through the season? 

  • We have worked through many issues in past years such as pool shut downs where we had experience and knew what to do.  This situation is one that no one has dealt with and we won’t know exactly what to do based on experience. 
  • Fall will definitely be different and there will definitely be social distancing in place
  • The reason for this zoom call today is that we are parents too.   The board has met over last few weeks and the exec committee is still meeting over the summer.  The coaching staff will have July off.  We know there are a lot of questions and we wanted to be transparent but share everything we know at this time. 
  • If there are any other questions please send them to [email protected] 


Thank you!