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SSO Administration

SSO Code of Conduct and Ethics Policy

(last revised: April 2021)


1. The following terms will have these meanings in this document: 

a) “Individuals”- All individuals engaged in activities with Solo Swims of Ontario, including but not limited to, board members, swimmers, volunteers, coaches, captains, and crew.

b) “Camaraderie”- Respect for others, for property and equipment, and honouring the history and spirit of marathon swimming. 

c) “SSO” – Refers to Solo Swims of Ontario, Inc.

d) “Code” and “Policy” - refer to this Code of Conduct and Ethics Policy. 


2. The benefits and privileges of SSO participation are balanced by responsibilities and obligations described in this Code, which identifies standards of behaviour expected of all Individuals.


3. The purpose of this Code is to clarify expectations of appropriate behaviour, consistent with the values of SSO, that ensure a safe and positive environment within SSO programs, activities and events. 

4. Conduct that violates this Code may result in dismissal from SSO activities, including restrictions on future participation with SSO.

Application of this Policy

5. This Policy applies to conduct that may arise during the course of SSO’s business, activities, and events, including but not limited to marathon swims, open water events, training camps and related events, workshops, travel, and meetings.

6. This Policy may also apply to conduct outside of SSO business and events when such conduct threatens the safety of SSO events, or undermines the effectiveness of SSO as a safety and ratifying body for marathon swimming, including reputational concerns.


7. SSO is committed to a respectful and inclusive environment. To this end, all Individuals have a responsibility to:

Ethical conduct, including respect for the dignity and self-esteem of all Individuals by: 

  1. Demonstrating respect to Individuals regardless of body type, physical characteristics, athletic ability, sex, gender, ancestry, colour, ethnic or racial origin, nationality, national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status, religion, religious beliefs, political beliefs, disability, economic status or any other reason;

  2. Focusing comments or criticism appropriately, and avoiding public criticism of Individuals;

  3. Consistently demonstrating a spirit of Camaraderie that honours fellow participants, SSO, and the rules, norms, and traditions of marathon and open water swimming:

    1. caring and respecting the property and assets of SSO and all Individuals;

    2. consistently treating Individuals fairly and with respect;

    3.  ensuring that the rules of Open Water and Marathon Swimming, and the spirit of such rules, are adhered to.

  4. Refrain from any behaviour that constitutes harassment, where harassment is defined as comment or conduct directed towards an Individual or group, which is offensive, abusive, racist, sexist, degrading or malicious. Types of behaviour that constitute harassment include, but are not limited to: 

    1. Written or verbal abuse, threats, or outbursts;

    2. Display of visual material which can reasonably be expected to offend; 

    3. Unwelcome remarks, jokes, comments, innuendos or taunts; 

    4. Leering or other suggestive or obscene gestures; 

    5. Condescending or patronizing behaviour intended to undermine self-esteem, diminish performance, or adversely affect working conditions; 

    6. Practical jokes which cause awkwardness or embarrassment, endanger a person’s safety, or negatively affect performance;

    7. Any form of hazing; 

    8. Unwanted physical contact (unrelated to emergency safety measures); or

    9. Retaliation or threats of retaliation against an Individual who reports harassment.

  5. Refrain from any behaviour that constitutes sexual harassment, where sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual comments and sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or conduct of a sexual nature. Types of behaviour that constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

    1. Sexist jokes;

    2. Display of sexually offensive material;

    3. Sexually degrading words used to describe a person;

    4. Inquiries or comments about a person’s sex life;

    5. Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances or propositions;

    6. Persistent unwanted contact; or

    7. Sexual assault. 

  6. Refrain from the use of power or authority in an attempt to coerce another person to engage in any inappropriate activities.

  7. Take reasonable steps to manage the responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or legal marihuana products at SSO social events

  8. Not consume any alcohol or drugs at any SSO sporting event.

  9. Abstain from non-medical possession or use of performance-enhancing drugs or methods.

  10. Comply at all times with the Bylaws, policies, rules and regulations of SSO as adopted and amended from time to time, with any contracts or agreements executed with or by SSO, and any directives or sanctions imposed by SSO.

Board/Committee Members 

8. In addition to section 7 above, Board Members of SSO will: 

  1. Respect the rights, dignity, and worth of everyone they engage with on behalf of SSO.

  2. Conduct oneself openly, professionally, lawfully, and in good faith in the best interests of SSO.

  3. Be transparent about conflicts of interest involving other memberships or affiliations, and resign if these conflicts cannot be resolved.

  4. Behave with decorum appropriate to both circumstance and position.

  5. Be fair, equitable, considerate and honest in all dealings with others.

  6. Respect the confidentiality appropriate to issues of a sensitive nature.

  7. Ensure that all Members/registrants are given sufficient opportunity to express opinions, and that all opinions are given due consideration and weight.

  8. Respect the decisions of the majority and resign if unable to do so.

  9. Commit the time to attend meetings and to be diligent in one's preparation for and participation in discussions at such meetings.

  10. Have a thorough knowledge and understanding of all SSO governance documents including, but not limited to: 

    1. SSO By-Laws

    2. SSO policies and procedures stated in the SSORI

    3. Roles and responsibilities of Board Members and volunteers

  11. Meet the highest standards of integrity and suitability so that the swimming community is satisfied it has minimized the risk of an unsafe environment.


9. Where an Individual issues a complaint about any person or issue, they should confidentially communicate this immediately to a board member.

  1. The Board member will accept the complaint, discuss the matter with the complainant, and resolve the issue at that time if possible. If the issue cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant in this manner, or they are unsatisfied with the response of the Board member, then the complaint should be put in writing by the Individual, or the consulted board member if agreed, notifying the SSO Board President.

  2. All complaints, received in any form, should be noted by the board member concerned and communicated to the Board in a timely manner, even if the issue is resolved immediately.

  3. If a complaint remains outstanding after these steps, or if the resolution is deemed unsatisfactory by the involved Individuals, then an appeal may be initiated.


10. In cases described by 9(c), the SSO board President will, in consultation with the board, establish a sub-committee to consider the appeal.

  1. Upon formation, the sub-committee will establish a clear schedule for timely judgement.

  2. Consistent with the expectations detailed in (8), members of the sub-committee will review the appeal in light of the original complaint and proposed remedies from (9) and against the considerations detailed in (7).

  3. The sub-committee will then meet to discuss their deliberations and prepare a report to the full Board, detailing the merits of the appeal and, if necessary, proposing further remedies.

  4. Consistent with (b), the President will solicit further comments from the full board and ask for a vote on a judgement, following which the President will  deliver the report and decision to the complainant.

Standards for the Swim Master


Marathon swimmers, coaches or others with related experience are eligible to become a Swim Master.


The Swim Master is an authorized representative of SSO and must meet stringent requirements before being certified. The SSO Board of Directors is responsible for the ratification of an SSO member as a Swim Master.


Swim Master candidates must serve an apprenticeship involving acting as an Assistant Swim Master at two-or-more marathon swims at the discretion of the supervising Swim Masters and/or the SSO Board. At the end of the apprenticeship, the supervising Swim Masters will each submit a report to the Board with a recommendation concerning ratification of the apprentice as a Swim Master. Candidates will be judged on the following criteria:


  • Attendance at a Swim Master Workshop,

  • Letters of recommendation from two different supervising Swim Masters,

  • Leadership abilities,

  • Swimming and rescue ability*,

  • Knowledge of boat safety,

  • A written Swim Master quiz is used to ensure adequacy of the candidate’s knowledge,

  • Driving experience and ability to handle an inflatable boat (Zodiac) with a swimmer,

  • Obtained a Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card,

  • First aid and CPR training **


*    Candidates without lifeguard qualifications (minimum Bronze Cross) are given ratification with restrictions, namely that they must always work with a qualified lifeguard who should always be by the swimmer's side.

** Those candidates without recognized First Aid and CPR qualifications are given ratification with restrictions, namely that they must always work with a person with these medical qualifications who should generally be stationed on the evacuation boat.


Completion of a Power Squadron Course and a Radio Operation License are considered optional assets.

Solo Swims Of Ontario Constitution



A. The name of the organization shall be "Solo Swims of Ontario", hereinafter referred to as the "S.S.O.". B. Solo Swims of Ontario is a non-profit organization founded and approved by the Provincial Government of Ontario, June 16, 1975. S.S.O. was registered as a Canadian Charity on December 1, 2004 with registration number 88097 4134 RR0001.



The objectives of the S.S.O. shall be:

A. To facilitate the safety of solo long distance swimming in Ontario by providing safety guidelines and regulations.

B. To provide qualified personnel for S.S.O. sanctioned solo swims.

C. To assist swimmers and coaches with safety information regarding training and resources.

D. To maintain records and data on sanctioned solo swim attempts in Ontario.

E. To regulate and sanction each solo swim in Ontario and to assign a Swim Master to officiate each swim. F. To liaise with responsible authorities and media regarding sanctioned solo swim attempts.



Membership shall be in two categories: active members, and advisory members. The active members shall consist of a minimum of five and a maximum of nine individuals. The advisory members shall be made up of knowledgeable people who are willing to assist this sport. Membership is open to all residents of Ontario who are interested in supporting the above objectives.



Officers of the active members shall consist of the president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. The advisory and active members shall be elected by the active members. The term of office of active members shall be one year and five years for advisory members. All Swim Masters shall be either active or advisory members.



The right to vote shall be restricted to the active members. For general business meetings forty percent of active members shall constitute a quorum. Financial matters may be decided by a fifty percent majority vote of the active members present at a general business meeting. Constitutional changes shall be dealt with at meetings with a minimum vote of two thirds of the active members present.



The active members shall meet for general business meetings as needed. All active members shall be notified of meetings by the secretary or designate. The annual meeting shall take place for the purpose of hearing officers written reports and the election of officers. Meetings shall be conducted in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order.



In the case of the resignation of an officer before the end of any term, the active members will elect another officer until the following annual meeting.



Any active member missing three consecutive meetings without justified cause shall be removed from the active membership by a majority vote of active members.



Financial year end shall be November 30 and the treasurer will provide a financial report to the annual meeting.



The S.S.O. will establish qualifications for their personnel involved in marathon swimming. These qualifications and safety rules will be adopted by a majority vote at a business meeting and published in the Solo Swims of Ontario Regulations and Information (S.S.O.R.I).



The S.S.O. shall be carried on without purpose of gain for its members. Any profits or other gains to the organization shall be used in promoting its objectives. Revisions Approved, June 14, 2011, as detailed in Board Minutes dated March 29, 2012.



Lake Ontario Trial Swim Research Data


This is a detailed analysis of all the completed and non-completed Toronto-related swims across Lake Ontario where trial swim data was available for comparison. Times were prorated for a 16 km Trial Swim and a 50.5 km Lake Ontario swim.

Trial swim times and Lake Ontario times for Lake Ontario Completers


Trial swim times and estimated Lake Ontario times for Lake Ontario Non-Completers (who swam at least halfway)

  Trial v. Lake Ontario times for              Trial v. estimated Lake Ontario times 

   Lake Ontario Completers                       for  Lake Ontario Non-Completers





Both Groups together: Lake Ontario Completers and Non-Completers

(Lines are drawn at 6 hours trial swim and 23 hours prorated Lake Ontario time)



Pearson correlation between trial swim time and Lake Ontario time is very high at 0.77, p = .00000017.


Hospital stay is defined as staying longer than a warm-up and check over, i.e.) more than 8 hours.

Hospital admissions are generally for breathing issues, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances or rhabdomyolysis (a condition in which muscle breakdown products, such as the protein myoglobin, are harmful to the kidneys and may lead to kidney failure.)



  1. Lake Ontario Completers: Swimmers whose trial swim was over 6 hours took 23 hours or longer to complete Lake Ontario. None of the completers who swam the trial in under 6 hours ended up staying in hospital. Three out of 4 who swam the trial in over 6 hours 30 min ended up in hospital for over 8 hours.

  2. Lake Ontario Non-Completers (who swam at least halfway): The data for people who did not complete the Lake Ontario swim was complicated by extreme weather factors and 2 cases of hypothermia in fast swimmers. However, the 2 who did the trial in over 6 h 30 min ended up admitted to hospital.

  3. Trial swim over 7 hours: The two swimmers (one completed, one didn’t) who did the trial swim in 7h 30min went backwards in the Humber River current and had lengthy hospitalizations.

trial swim data- completers top_edited.jpg
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trial swim noncompleters graph_edited.jpg
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