Synchro Canada

On the final day of the Canadian Open, fourth leg of the FINA Synchro World Series, in Toronto, Team Ukraine took first place in the Free Combination Final with a score of 93.0333. Their programme incorporated strong highlights and elements with choreography and music that evoked the era of the 1940s. Speaking for the team, Anna Voloshyna felt today was a stronger performance. “We saw yesterday a few little mistakes so today we tried to improve and not make them.” 

Canada’s top team in the event was the Calgary Aquabelles, coached by Jenn Tregale and Jessica Best, The Backstreet Boys themed routine scored 83.3000. Stephanie Mattson, who will retire later this year, swam this routine for the final time. She was pleased with their performance. “Our transitions are extremely difficult in this routine. While solos and duets are going on there are other things happening with the team. No one is ever just resting and there is always movement.”

Canada Aquabelles - Photo by Dan Robichaud Photography

Senior Team Free Final
Ukraine was the sole entry and took first place in the Senior Team Free Finals, with a score of 92.6333. The free routine was similar to the one competed at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio, based on a magical theme.


Anna Voloshyna said that “after the Olympic Games we went back to Ukraine and changed it a little bit because we have new people on the team. So we must decide which move is more comfortable for all athletes. So really it is a very interesting programme for us too.” Next up for the Ukrainian team is the world series event in Spain and then on to the FINA World Championships in Budapest in July. 


Canada’s National team withdrew from both the Combo Finals and the Senior Team Free Final after a series of injuries had left the team unable to compete.

Additional exposure
As the competition wrapped up this Saturday at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, Lisa Schott, FINA Delegate, member of the FINA Technical Committee, reflected on this fourth competition of the FINA Synchronised Swimming World Series.

Schott, from Canada, sees the series as a way to engage fans throughout the year rather than just around an Olympic Games or World Championships. “The FINA Technical Committee is looking to provide a platform to compete around the world where the fans can follow the sport on a regular basis.” And young competitors in Canada reap the benefits of competing alongside the best athletes in the world. It will make this next generation of athletes, who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to see this, want to compete on one of Canada’s international teams. They can see where you can go and you bring the world to them rather than them going to the world.”


The addition of Ukraine, New Zealand and Colombia added a different dimension to the event. “It’s our first year of launching an international competitive programme for Synchro. We’ve never had an organised world competition so we’re proud to host this fourth event of the series in Canada,” she added. “We think it is great to bring a top team like Ukraine to showcase and to show Canada what Ukraine is doing. They have a completely different style of swimming than Canada. And the New Zealand athletes are already excited to come back again next year.”


Svitlana Saidova, member of the FINA Technical Committee, who was at the 2017 Canadian Open as a coach with the Ukrainian team agreed that the world series has already helped the sport to advance. Speaking about her own team, she said, “We made changes after the first event. By seeing what other teams are doing, we can observe, learn and adapt our programmes to be stronger and better.” She also felt that having more competitive opportunities for the athletes was an advantage. “Seeing routines develop from one competition to another is important rather than just working alone on your own in isolation. Collaborating and learning from all of the other countries is really valuable.”


Schott reflected on the importance of men being welcomed into the sport, as the Mixed Duet drew attention at this event. “Welcoming men opens a whole different opportunity for clubs to grow, to bring in new partners, and add a new demographic of people watching. We’re thankful to Bill May and our own Robert Prévost for being pioneers in the sport. We’re proud of the work they’re doing and of being able to give them an opportunity to showcase what they are doing for the sport.”


While Schott greatly appreciates the prize money that FINA has provided for this year’s series, as she looks into the future – she hopes to see the FINA Synchronised Swimming World Series grow even further and include a super final next season – combining the best of the best. “Obviously to give the world series real credibility we would like to tie it to qualification for the Olympic Games. That would ensure that the best countries in the world participate in it just like other series in other sports.”