A world-class program that has helped Olympic athletes hone their skills will be leaving Victoria.
Swimming Canada announced Friday that it will be closing its High Performance Centre on Vancouver Island and reducing the number of facilities across Canada.
Victoria’s Ryan Cochrane, a two-time Olympic medallist, tells CTV News Vancouver Island that he owes his success to this exact program at Saanich Commonwealth Place.
“Having that support locally allowed me to train in the pool I learned to swim in and be part of the community,” said Cochrane. “That was one of the most integral parts in my career was being able to stay in Victoria.”
The end of the program will be after the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
A spokesperson from Swimming Canada said the change is to better focus and balance the organization's resources.
“We are going to go down to focus on one centre in the east for the Olympic program and one centre in the west,” said Nathan White.
White said it was not an easy decision for Swimming Canada to make.
“The amount of resources we have coming in and how we spread those and trying to look ahead to future games, there were a lot of factors that went into it,” said White.
Cochrane said it was not a good day for Victoria when the news broke and he is concerned about future generations of athletes.
“We need to inspire the next generation to want to be greater than we ever were and if they don’t see that or see what we do every day it seems out of sight, out of mind,” he said.
Athletes in the program will now have to choose between training in Vancouver or Toronto.