Whitehorse Glacier Bears sue top swimmer’s family

The Whitehorse Glacier Bears Swim Club is suing the family of one of its top swimmers, claiming a little under $5,000 in unpaid fees, volunteer hours and “fundraising commitments.”

The Whitehorse Glacier Bears Swim Club is suing the family of one of its top swimmers, claiming a little under $5,000 in unpaid fees, volunteer hours and “fundraising commitments.”

The club filed a claim on Dec. 29, 2016 in Yukon small claims court against Adrian and Riana Robinson, the parents of swimmer Adrian Robinson, seeking almost $4,900.

According to the document, parents of club swimmers have to contribute volunteer hours and meet fundraising goals over the season.

Those commitments depend on the category of swimming children are signed up for.

The club wants $300 for every bingo event the Robinson family didn’t complete, for a total of $2,100, $40 per hour for each of the 45 hours of volunteer work it says the family didn’t do, plus other fees.

The junior Adrian Robinson was signed up in the Silvertips category, the one requiring the most fundraising and volunteering, which the club says is linked to the increased lane access and coaching expertise swimmers in that category receive.

The family at the time had just announced they were moving to Botswana, which triggered emails between the club and Riana Robinson. In an email attached to the law suit, club president George Harvey first tried to see how the season requirements could be fulfilled before the family’s departure.

In September, Riana Robinson emailed the club letting them know she only wanted her son to be registered up until November, and that she shouldn’t have to pay the fees for the whole season.

The club refused to back down, citing its refund policy.

In an undated email, Harvey made what seems to be one last attempt to get the money back. He hinted at possible repercussions for Adrian’s career.

“Should all your families commitments not be met, we will take further actions which may lead to Adrian not being able to swim in Canada and potentially internationally,” he wrote.

Contacted on Jan. 12, Harvey told the News that the club would contact Swimming Canada, the national governing body of competitive swimming.

“When a swimmer isn’t able to swim within a club, it’s possible that Swim Canada takes action as well,” he said.

Between the cost of the full-time coach, the five to six part-time coaches, renting the lanes at the Canada Games Centre and organizing competitions, volunteering and fundraising are crucial to the club, Harvey said.

Without that, parents would have to pay much steeper registration fees, he said.

“We can’t succeed unless all of us are pulling their weight,” he said. “When a family isn’t doing their share it’s difficult for those doing more than the minimum amount.”

It takes about 40 volunteers to organize a meet, he said, and volunteering offsets a third of the club’s costs.

Adrian Robinson was one of the club’s top swimmers, regularly setting club and meet records. In 2014 the News reported he set four records at the season opening meet. In 2016 he set eight records and won seven gold medals during the Yukon Championship Invitational Swim Meet.

Harvey said the family was served with the claim before they left the country in early January.

They have until Jan. 20 to file a reply.

The News couldn’t reach Riana Robinson by press time Jan. 13.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

Correction: The News first reported the swim club was suing Adrian Robinson, the swimmer. The club is actually suing Adrian’s father, also named Adrian.

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