Montreal’s Jacqueline Simoneau, 19, and Gatineau’s Karine Thomas, 27have qualified for the finals of the Olympic Synchronized Swimming Duet competition at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio, Brazil.

Starting early, swimming 6th of 24 teams, the duo produced a very strong performance today, according to Head Coach Meng Chen.  “I could tell by their concentration, by their engagement, that today was a great day.  They swam with more confidence.  Their signature is their height out of the water, and they showed superior height with each element.  Today I’m happy to see them show their real capacity –  they really competed this routine so well.”

The Canadians scored 89.2916 in their Technical Routine, which is the second round of the competition.  Their scoring breakdown was:  Execution – 26.9000; Impression – 26.9000; and Elements – 35.4916.  Combined with yesterday’s Preliminary Free Routine, their combined score was 179.3583, leaving them solidly in 7th position.  The top three teams are: Russia in first with 194.5244 (96.4577 TR), followed by China, 191.4355 (95.3688 TR) and Japan in 3rd at 187.5214 (93.1214 TR).  Ukraine (93.1358 TR) moved ahead of Spain into 4th place, Spain dropped to 5th and Italy rounds off the top half in 6th position.

Simoneau and Thomas created a storyline to the music of Breakout by Erik Ekholm and Race to the Line by Geoffrey J.P. Holroyde & Emre Ramazanoglu.  They choreographed the five required elements to illustrate mythical forest creatures, even using the splashing of the water to illustrate their struggle to survive.  According to Thomas, conveying the storyline allows them to “lose themselves in their performance, and also to present our artistic side.  It flows better and we can project out, and give a better performance overall.”

She agreed it was a very strong swim today.  “It’s the routine we are usually more confident in.  We are definitely strong athletes when it comes to the technical elements.  We were really excited to go out there and do what we do well and show our best.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s Free Routine, Thomas says “We are definitely going to go into finals tomorrow feeling more confident and more at ease with everything.”

The top twelve teams move on to the final phase of the competition.  The Free Routine Preliminary scores are dropped, and only the Technical Routine scores carry over into the third day.  Canada will swim first in the final event which gets underway at 2:00 p.m. local time in Brazil, 1:00 p.m. Eastern in Canada.