Canada’s junior synchronized swimmers win two golds

Ottawa, ON — Canada’s Synchronized Swimmers continued their strong season on the FINA Synchronized Swimming World Series, adding to their medal haul at the 2017 Synchro America Open this past weekend.

Jacqueline Simoneau, 20 (Montreal, QC), medalled for the fourth time on the circuit this year, taking second in both sections of the solo event. She finished just behind Ona Carbonell of Spain and ahead of Michelle Zimmer of Germany who was third. Simoneau was particularly pleased with her free routine, which scored 90.2333 points and accentuates her height and spinning abilities. Halle Pratt, 17, (Calgary, AB) making her senior international debut, finished a strong third in the free routine of the solo event but placed fourth as each country is only permitted one podium finisher.

In the duet, Simoneau teamed with Claudia Holzner, 23 (Calgary, AB) for the first time in competition and the new duo impressed everyone with their accomplished performances. Their technical routine score of 85.9011 was just 2.6482 points behind the Spanish team of Carbonell/Ramirez. The Canadians scored 89.1667 for their free routine and took the silver medal ahead of the US team of Woroniecki/Alvarez. Another Canadian twosome, Emily Armstrong, 16 (Toronto, ON), and Halle Pratt, 17 (Calgary, AB), placed a strong fourth overall in their senior international debut.

It was a second international medal – this one was silver – for Canada’s mixed duet, Isabelle Blanchet-Rampling, 31, and Robert Prévost, 37, both from Montreal, QC. The two improved on their scores from earlier in the season, with a combined total of 162.4065 for the technical and free routines. They were well ahead of the team in third, Ebert/Stoepel from Germany, who scored 145.4847 and behind the US team of Spendlove/May who won gold with a score of 176.4349.

It was another silver medal for Canada in the team competition, represented by: Emily Armstrong (Toronto, ON), Catherine Barrett (St. John’s, NL), Camille Fiola-Dion (Rimouski, QC), Maria Gheta (Laval, QC), Rebecca Harrower (Edmonton, AB), Audrey Joly (St-Eustache, QC), Sion Ormond (Aurora, ON), Halle Pratt (Calgary, AB), Kenzie Pridell (Regina, SK), Melody Roy (St-Hyacinthe, QC), Kristin Stremlaw (Ottawa, ON) and Cassie Winkelaar (Calgary, AB). In the technical routine, coach Kasia Kulesza thought the team’s best move was “our thrust in the middle of the routine. It was really high and well executed. We call it a Banquine; it’s a gymnastics term.” The free routine wove the music of Drake with more traditional Synchro music to create a ‘We the North’ themed program. The Canadians scored 78.9407 in the tech routine and 84.2667 in the free (total of 163.2074) for their silver medal. The USA team was first with 166.2664 and Argentina took the bronze with 153.3469.

Canada’s strong performance to date is reflected in the FINA Synchronized Swimming World Series Rankings.  Based on the first five events (the US event has not yet been included), Canada sits in second place in two disciplines, solo and mixed duet and is currently fourth in duet.

The 2017 Synchro America Open at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in Long Island, New York was the last event in the series before the upcoming FINA World Championships in July. The series will conclude September 21-24, 2017 with the Suv Parisi Tashkent, in Uzbekistan.

In the junior events, Canada took home two gold medals. Toronto’s Emily Armstrong earned the first gold medal of the competition by winning the junior solo event. Her total of 155.8151 was ahead of Australia’s Adriani Vasilakis in second and Hailee Heinrich of the USA in third.

RTC-Ontario took gold in the Junior/Senior Combo Free Routine. The team of Laura Bellantone, Emma Fox, Teghyn Gurney, Olivia Jensen-Large, Faustine Leung, Maura McLean, Audrey Melkoumov, Jaiden Regnier, and Leah Sterling scored 79.2333 to finish ahead of two US teams, Optima Synchro and New Canaan & Aquianas.