Canada’s Artistic Swimming team has arrived in Japan and is eagerly looking forward to the competition commencing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The artistic swimming events will run August 2-7, 2021, at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
Prior to its departure, the team completed a successful staging/training camp at Saanich Commonwealth Place in Victoria, BC. They were enthusiastically supported each day by BC Artistic Swimming and by athletes from Victoria Synchro and other local clubs, who turned out to give them a terrific send off. The team really appreciated having live fans supporting them in the audience, especially as they head into an unusual competition environment in Tokyo where there will be no spectators due to Covid-19 precautions.
The support team with the athletes in Tokyo is committed to providing them with an optimal Olympic experience. Canada Artistic Swimming (CAS) recognizes and appreciates the efforts the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and local Japanese hosting partners are making to ensure a safe and healthy competition environment that will allow the athletes to concentrate on performing their best as well as having a wonderful and memorable Olympic Games.
Head coach Gábor Szauder will lead the coaching team working with the athletes to achieve their Olympic dreams. Szauder returned to working with the team following an independent discipline panel decision arising from a complaint against him, which alleged violations of the CAS Conduct Policy based on statements allegedly made. The independent panel dismissed all of the allegations that it considered during a thorough, six-day hearing, and concluded that Szauder was not responsible for any Conduct Policy violations. An appeal of the discipline panel decision was subsequently dismissed by an independent third-party Case Manager.
“This has been a long and complex process for everyone involved, and we are pleased that a final outcome of our safe sport process has been determined before the start of the Olympic competition,” said Jackie Buckingham, CEO of CAS. “Now that it has concluded, the team is fully focused on its competition performances and realizing the whole Olympic experience – surrounded by and with the full support of the Canadian Olympic family.”
She continued, “CAS believes strongly in its responsibility to provide a safe and healthy training and competition environment and has robust policies and procedures in place to ensure safe sport practices are followed first and foremost throughout our organization. It was important that we applied a fair and consistent complaint process that supported all participants and preserved natural justice and procedural fairness. This principle has guided the organization through the entire process.”
Prior to the Games, CAS provided over 30 hours of training to its national team staff and coaches on safe sport, diversity and inclusion and mental health, recognizing the importance of these issues to sport as a whole. An ombudsperson role has been added specifically for National Team athletes to give them a confidential avenue to report any conduct that they feel is contrary to the CAS Conduct Policy. Coaches and staff have committed to follow the Coaching Association of Canada’s (CAC) “Rule of 2” principle in all situations to ensure no athlete is ever placed in a position of a power imbalance.
CAS continues to execute its vision to create a safer, more welcoming environment for all participants in the sport: athletes, coaches, volunteers, staff and parents. This includes a comprehensive process to lead a change in the culture of the sport for both current and future national teams, in order to support athletes both as people and as high performing athletes. This vision will continue to be a strategic focus for the organization in the lead-up already underway for the next Olympic cycle, the 2024 Games in Paris.
In the meantime, CAS and its Members, registrants and supporters look forward to cheering on our talented and amazing Olympic athletes as they proudly represent Canada in Tokyo.
The Artistic Swimming Olympic competition begins with the duet event, where Claudia Holzner and returning Olympian Jacqueline Simoneau will confidently represent Canada. It gets underway on Monday, August 2nd with the Duet Free Routine Preliminary. The Duet Technical Routine is competed on Tuesday, August 3rd. The duet competition concludes on Wednesday, August 4th with the Duet Free Routine Final when medals will be presented. The duet has set its sights strongly on moving up in the World ranking.
The team event begins on Friday, August 6th with the Team Technical Routine. It concludes on Saturday, August 7th with the Team Free Routine. All events are scheduled for 19:30pm in Japan (06:30 ET).