Venue Doesn’t Fit
By Robert Tuomi
(WINDSOR, ON) – As usual, grandiose schemes are emanating from Windsor city hall and delivered to the denizens of the once great city through the writers at the Windsor Star. On June 23, 2012, in an editorial about all the sporting events that could come to the city, the editorial writer boasted that “the city is trying to attract the Short Course Worlds swim event here in 2016 or 2018. The fit is a natural with the aquatic centre opening next year.”
This comment must certainly have been light-hearted, or at best tongue-in-cheek, given the word “fit” was used.
In reality, it is probably not possible that the Federation Internationale De Natation (FINA) which sets the rules for its championships and Olympic swimming competitions would even consider allowing Windsor to participate in one of its events for elite swimmers given that the selfish and inward council, as usual, is building a half-baked pool and mediocre water park.
It has been reported that the city’s so-called EdgarPlex, which will probably be named in honour of the city’s failed mayor Edgar Francis, will have only 900 spectator seats.
Unfortunately, under 2010 FINA rules, section 3, Venue Requirements & Technical Facilities, section 3.2 provides this stipulation:
The event venue capacity should be a minimum of 2,000 seats for spectators, with seating for athletes in accordance with FINA Rules.
As the Square has reported previously, people with vision who build competitive swimming pools probably scoff at a mere 2,000 seat minimum. Some examples include the Natatorium in Indianapolis which has 4,700 seats and Barcelona’s competitive pool has 4,100. Australia’s Gold Coast, home of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, tells us that it will be able to accommodate 10,000 spectators for its swimming events. Obviously the Aussies were thinking ahead.
The reason more spectator seats are desired, and it is the reason Windsor has virtually eliminated itself from being a host of world events, is patently obvious. Any sport wanting to enhance its popularity knows that it must run its events at premium locations and be able to provide as many seats as possible. It is not the more the merrier, it is simply the basic reality of competitive swimming.
While it is possible that Windsor could win an exception it is most likely doubtful because it really offers nothing to compensate for the lack of proper seating. Remember it is the same council that built a stage on the riverfront but omitted the seats. Once FINA hears that, well, nuff said.
Another reason that an exception is probably out of the question is that over the past decade more and more countries have been sending their competitors to the FINA championships.
In total 780 swimmers from 153 countries participating in the 2010 event in Dubai. Of course, if the inward council, which operates in a windowless chamber, had done its homework, or heavy lifting, either one, same result, and demanded that a market study be done before the city spent a cent it would have understood that in the competitive world of swimming size matters and a small facility just doesn’t cut it.
There is another issue. Windsor is building a 70 metre pool which can be shortened to 50 metres. Almost universally, competitive swimming facilities have two pools, one for competition and a second usually not connected to the first for warm-up. Dubai has two 50 metre pools separated by an Olympic diving tank.
Oddly enough the Shorts, as they are known, is a competition designed for a 25 metre pool. Windsor is building a 50 metre one. The city on one hand says it just has to have a 50 metre pool but then on the other says it wants to attract a 25 metre swimming event. Hardly makes sense.
For more of the Rest of the News listen to CJAM 99.1 FM Monday evenings at 8:30.
Short URL: http://www.windsorsquare.ca/?p=34384