Synchro Canada

Canada’s synchronised swimmers took home three silver medals and one gold from Thursday’s competition at the fourth leg of the FINA Synchro Swimming World Series 2017, running from May 2-7 at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

Duet Tech Final

Canadian duos finished second and third in the Duet Tech Finals.

Jacqueline Simoneau / Karine Thomas improved on last week’s performance in Japan, scoring 89.9732, to finish behind the Ukrainian pair of Anna Voloshyna / Yelyzaveta Yakhno who won the event with a score of 91.2005. Sitting in third spot were Gabriella (Gabe) Brisson /Claudia Holzner with a score of 86.7477.

Both Canadian duets train at the Centre of Excellence in Montreal with coaches Meng Chen and Miho Yoshida.

Speaking for the duet, Voloshyna was pleased about their performance.

“Today we did the tech duet to Ukrainian folk music, so we were very happy with this music because it is from our heart. I feel stronger than in France so I am really happy.”

Both Canadian pairs saw improvement in the evolution of their programmes and competitions since last week’s competition.

Thomas, 28, from Gatineau, Quebec, sensed this was a stronger swim.

“We found a few little things that we wanted to tweak this week. We knew we wanted to go into the elements really calm and I think we managed to do that and also going in synchronised throughout.”

Simoneau / Thomas (CAN) photo credit: Deepbluemedia

Simoneau, 20, from Montreal, agreed. “Every time we compete or do a show together it gets better – and I think we stepped up our game today.” Canada’s newest duet team, Brisson, 23, and Holzner, 23, both from Calgary, were also pleased with their tech routine.

“We were happy to make some improvements today and just enjoy the feeling of competing in front of our parents and our home crowd,” said Brisson.

“I think we definitely improved our energy from Japan and it felt like a cleaner swim.”

Holzner identified staying calm as a key component to their competition.

“We really came together and we had an overall calm feeling during the swim. It was really fun and today we nailed some of our tough elements.”

Since only one entry per country is eligible to medal in the event, the bronze medal went to New Zealand’s Eva Morris / Jazz Thomas. Morris admitted it was a bit daunting

“This was our first senior international competition. We were nervous competing on the world stage for the first time.” Added Thomas, “It’s been a good experience coming here, meeting new people. Seeing how different countries compete and train and watching them and learning new abilities and how they go.”

Solo Free

In the Solo Free Finals, it was a close competition between Ukraine’s Anna Voloshyna and Canada’s Jacqueline Simoneau.

Voloshyna finished .7 points ahead, with a score of 92.3000 to Simoneau’s 91.6000.

Voloshyna loves performing this routine because it feels as though she is dancing on the water.

“I think this is a little bit about me and my husband so I feel that (it comes) from my heart. It’s more emotional and I did some moves not from synchronized swimming but from ballet and dance so I like it more.”

Simoneau was pleased with her technical performance.

“I felt technically it was very strong today. I feel like I started to make the free my own from last week in Japan. Even in France I started to feel it was my own routine. I wasn’t just performing a choreography because I feel so attached to it when I swim. I was performing for myself, for the judges, for everybody else around me.”

In third place was Columbia’s Daniela Domingue Daza with a score of 74.7667. Rounding out the international field was Aleisha Braven from New Zealand with a score of 69.3000.

Mixed Duet

Making their international debut was the mixed duet of Isabelle Blanchet-Rampling, 31, Montreal, and Robert Prevost, 37, Montreal. The two are coached by Denise Sauvé at CAEM in Montreal.

The only entry in the event, the duo scored 78.8095 to win the gold medal.

Their program has come together over the last few weeks, and this is the first time it has been competed.

“This is the first presentation of that program”, said Blanchet-Rampling.

“I loved the energy from the crowd and so far the feedback has been extremely positive and we’re really excited for this to start as a new process for both of us.”

Prevost, who was also coaching athletes here this week, was pleased with the competition and paid tribute to their coach.

“I was confident that it would go well. The leadership that our coach Denise Sauve brings to us, helping us set goals, giving us exceptional choreography, helped make us confident.”

Team Tech Routine

While Ukraine took first place in the Senior Team Tech Finals, with a score of 90.5914, the Canadian team pulled together to overcome a series of injuries that required them to swap out half of their regular team members, and perform their new tech routine for the first time.

“I’m so proud of our whole team who came together to compete today. We had to switch people into new spots, and with only about two hours of practise time in total, they all rose to the challenge, and we are so proud of our swimmers,” said National Team Head Coach Meng Chen, who coaches the team at the Centre of Excellence.

Assistant Coach Miho Yoshida is responsible for the tech routine that scored 87.3525. Team captain Gabe Brisson was overcome with emotion at the end of the swim.

“I’m unbelievably proud of the team today. We overcame such a big hurdle to even swim today. So knowing that we swam well and (had) a performance that we’re happy and excited about was huge. We had four alternates swimming today, and most of the alternates are newer and younger members of the team and they did an incredible job coming in. I’m extremely proud of those younger swimmers.”