Strike trashes swim camp

ALISON KORN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:23 AM ET

Stinking piles of garbage are one thing, kids locked out of daycare another, and now the civic employees strike's closure of city pools is impacting triathletes, masters and youth swimmers in the peak of their season.

A summer swim camp planned for the glorious, outdoor Donald D. Summerville Pool at the foot of Woodbine Ave. and Lakeshore Blvd. East had attracted 219 kids aged 6 to 18, eager for a taste of competitive swimming with the Toronto Swim Club. Camp was to start Monday. Instead, the coaching staff is negotiating refunds ith parents.

"I'm very upset, it's very stressful, because I've got six coaches who need income and I've got to find some way to pay them this summer," said camp head coach Bob Hayes. "It's difficult to pay them without any revenue coming in."

At $150 per week, the swim camp is an affordable recruitment experience for swimmers considering more expensive year-round competitive swimming. It's also a nice option for club swimmers to keep training during the summer. Hayes frets that the development of kids who show potential will suffer without it. Never mind the adult swimmers who also love training at Summerville, a huge 50-metre pool with eight lanes, and a view of Lake Ontario.

"There's a lot of people that won't be getting in shape or keeping in shape this summer," Hayes said. "Other than Lake Ontario, we're kind of out of luck."

Indeed, some local triathletes are taking to the lake for workouts, as they always have, but with water quality testing reduced -- due to the strike -- the city's website warns: "Swim at your own risk."

Water testing used to be daily, but it's now reduced to twice a week at Sunnyside Beach, Cherry Beach, Woodbine, Kew-Balmy Beach and Bluffer's Park Beach, a frequency that still meets the requirements of the Ministry of Health.

No testing is being conducted at Rouge Beach, Marie Curtis Park East, Hanlan's Point, Gibraltar Point Beach, Centre Island, and Ward's Island.

"After a heavy rainfall, water quality at all beaches may worsen and cause illness for up to 48 hours," advises the city's website.

Another group that had been planning to swim at Summerville, the North Toronto Swim Club, had figured 120 swimmers would join its summer session there. Coach Doug Vanderby is now trying to get pool time at a private school. How does he feel about the strike?

"I think the timing of it is pretty crappy," Vanderby said. "I understand their points, but our summers are short in Toronto. I know they're doing it for maximum shock effect, but the pools are closed, it's hot out. I feel sorry for the lifeguards and students."

Women coaches bullied

A rather uncomfortable report out this week from the Canadian Journal for Women and Coaching, affirming many female coaches at the top levels in male-dominated sports are targets of bullying and harassment.

Author Gretchen Kerr's study at the University of Toronto is the first to explore female coaches' experiences in these areas.

Participants in the study included eight Canadian female coaches aged 42-56. Each had worked at the national level of sport for a minimum of 10 years and held head coach positions for female teams in basketball, volleyball, hockey, swimming, and athletics.

All but one reportedly experienced being harassed or bullied by their male counterparts, who either were in senior positions or had longer tenures .

"The participants' responses are a powerful indictment of a persistent and ugly culture," wrote editor Sheila Roberston.


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