Team Canada closed off its Pan Am Games experience on Friday with a bronze medal in the team event in Santiago, Chili. Swimming first in the acrobatic routine – the last of 3 events in the team competition – Canada delivered an energetic rendition of its program that earned full difficulty mark and a score of 198.68. This provided Canada with a total team score of 662.0521, good for third place and Pan Am bronze.
“It’s just an incredible feeling,” said team co-captain Kenzie Priddell. “To come together as a team like we did this week and to deliver 3 strong swims in spite of all the adversity we faced in the past few months – I’m just so proud of this group. It was amazing to be supported here in Chile by our friends and families, and they gave us the strength to give one last strong performance to close off the Games.”
For the first time ever in international competition, the Pan Am Games team competition was made up of 3 team events: the technical and free programs, as well as the acrobatic routine. The final rankings were determined by the aggregate score from all 3 routines. On Tuesday and Thursday, Team Canada had also finished third in both the technical and free routine events. In an extremely tight battle for gold and Olympic Qualification, Mexico barely edged the Americans by less than a point, 786.2546 to 785.5908.
Earlier in the week, the brand new pairing of Audrey Lamothe and Olena Verbinska finished 5th in the duet competition, delivering technical and free routines that both received deductions in difficulty, but showcased the incredible talent and promise of the pair.
“Audrey is an incredible partner,” said Verbinska, the youngest artistic swimming competitor at the Games at only 15. “If we can do what we just did after training together for just over a month, I can’t even imagine what we’ll be doing in a couple of years!”
“We’ve taken big steps as a pair this week,” added Lamothe. “It’s one thing to train together, but there’s nothing like the competition environment to learn and grow. Now that we have this big international competition behind us, we feel extremely confident for our future together.”
Canada’s quest for qualification to the Paris Olympic Games is not over. The World Aquatics Championships in Doha next February will serve as the final qualification possibility, with 5 team and 8 duet spots at stake.
Team Canada’s squad in Santiago was
– Sydney Carroll (Saskatoon, Sask.)
– Scarlett Finn (Toronto, Ont.)
– Audrey Lamothe (Montréal, Que.)
– Jonnie Newman (Calgary, Alb.)
– Raphaëlle Plante (Québec, Que.)
– Kenzie Priddell (Regina, Sask.)
– Claire Scheffel (Brantford, Ont.)
– Florence Tremblay (Rimouski, Que.)
– Olena Verbinska (Aurora, Ont.)