After a 2-year hiatus to pursue her degree in podiatric medicine, Jacqueline Simoneau has decided to return to full-time training with the senior national team starting this fall.
“I have been receiving very positive messages from the artistic swimming community for the past 2 years, encouraging me to return to the pool, and it’s always been in the back of my mind. This summer, after giving a couple of clinics across the country, I realized not only that I still had the capacity to do it, but also the desire.”
After the Tokyo Olympics, the Canada Artistic Swimming Board of Directors established a Challenge Process to allow athletes who might want to take a break from full-time training, to pursue education or seek out other goals for their lives, to challenge for a place on the centralized training group even if they didn’t take part in formal selection camps.
Jacqueline used this process to reintegrate the group and has been training full-time at INS since last week.
“The transition back to the pool has been quite seamless so far. Right now, it’s really about the basics: getting back in shape, getting the body used to full-time training and reconnecting with coaches and the Integrated Support Team, which has been phenomenal.”
Jacqueline is s a 2-time Olympian (2016 & 2020), a quadruple Pan Am Games gold medalist (2015 & 2019), and the winner of multiple medals on the FINA World Cup circuit during her initial 10-year tenure with the National Team, from 2011 to 2021. She’s remained very engaged in sport since going back to school and is currently serving as a COC Athletes’ Commission Member, and an IOC Believe in Sport Ambassador.
She will also be part of the mission team at the upcoming Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games, serving as an Athlete Service Officer, a new role through which experienced athletes provide support to fellow athletes at Games. This is a role Jackie is looking forward to embrace in the coming weeks as well, as her new teammates prepare for Pan Am Games.
“Having been to 2 Pan Am Games, I hope I will be able to help the team prepare. Over the years, I’ve gained an understanding of how to approach the big events, particularly the large multi-sport games, and I’m hoping that sharing my experiences will help them reach their maximum potential.”
Jacqueline’s return to competition is expected to be in 2024, when the season kicks off with the World Championships in Doha, in February.
“I’d love to compete in solo and also be a part of the duet contingent in Doha, and I’ll be available to take part in the team events as well if this is what the coaches decide. This will be my first time with the new scoring system, and I’m really looking forward to trying it out because I think it plays to my strengths. There have been a lot of new faces on the podium last year, and I’d like to think we can aim for medal contending performances in 2024, and of course secure our qualification for Paris depending on whether it’s already happened in Santiago.”
A full-time student in Podiatric Medicine at Université du Québec at Trois-Rivière (UQTR) since the fall of 2021, Jacqueline is thankful to be able to take a break from school to pursue her sporting dreams.
“From the first moment I mentioned the possibility of returning to the team in Montreal, everyone at school was super receptive. My program director and I were able to come up with a plan that allows me to get back to training and eventually resume my studies.”