TRURO, N.S. – The swimming pool and other facilities checked out just fine.
The coffee, not so much.
“Finding the proper coffee was difficult. Being Europeans we have a different view of the coffee than you have here,” said British visitor, Dr. Geoff Smedley, with a hearty laugh.
The president of the Down Syndrome International Swimming Organization (DSISO) was given assurances an espresso machine would be forthcoming.
“They tell us they are going to have one here when we arrive and we’re working on our hotel, to say you are going to need one there as well.”
Smedley and swimming technical director Carla Cardoso of Portugal were here this week to follow up on recommendations made during a previous visit to bring the pool up to grade for the world championship event.
This year’s July 20-26 swim meet marks the first time the DSISO event has been held in North America and Smedley and Cardoso each said they like what they have seen so far. More than 200 swimmers from more than 25 countries, along with trainers, coaches other staff and supporters, will take in the event.
“We’ve just been impressed by the amount of effort people are putting in,” Smedley said. “We’ve had a very successful day in terms of meetings … and the reaction from the organizing committee has been very, very positive.”
Cardoso added she was also impressed by the mood of the community with respect to the event, especially since during some championships “the community doesn’t even know it is happening.”
RECC general manager Matt Moore is pleased the DSISO officials have approved plans for the required changes to the pool, given it was never designed for international competition.
“We take pride in being a hosting country,” he said, given the size of the event. “We never thought that we would have the ability to do it. We’re essentially a recreational pool.”
A more primary concern from the organization was a lack of touch panels or boards at the ends of the pool that allow swimmers to kick off as they do their turns.
The organization switches between long- and short-course competition each year. With this being a short-course year, the RECC pool was deemed suitable with some adaptation.
“So, the pool was right for a short-course event and the facilities were there. We’ve thrown a few challenges at the pool because the pool was not right for racing,” Smedley said.
“But they’ve been very co-operative,” he said, of the local organizing committee. “And knowing we were going to give those challenges they still said, ‘Yeah, we still want you to come.’”
Any changes made to the pool will also serve to benefit swimmers during future competitions, Moore said.
“That’s part of the legacy of this event, I guess, is that our own local swim team will be able to install these turn panels for our regional and provincial meets,” he said.