Helsinki, August 3, 2014 – Jacqueline Simoneau, of Montreal, continued her string of successes on the international stage by winning a silver medal in the solo event at the FINA World Junior synchronized swimming Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
Fourth after Thursday’s preliminary routine, Simoneau started her impressive comeback by coming in first in Friday’s figures event, ending Russia’s long streak of victories in the event.
Swimming immediately after the first place Russian in today’s final, Simoneau delivered a powerful yet graceful routine that earned her the best marks in the field for artistic impression. A crowd favourite in Helsinki, she was awarded a personal best score at the junior level of 89.5667, a huge 2.5 point improvement over her preliminary performance.
“I felt great today”, said Simoneau. “I had a lot of energy and really gave everything I had. There are no words to describe how I felt when I walked on deck and had almost the whole crowd, regardless of nationality, stand behind me and cheer me on. This allowed me to give one my best solo performances ever and I’ll be forever grateful for that.”
“I’d like to thank everyone who cheered me on today both in Finland and at home, my parents and my family, everyone from the Senior National Team including the medical staff, my teammates and my coaches. Most of all, I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to my coach Meng Chen who has made all this possible for me. We have incredible chemistry together and we have worked extremely hard to earn this special moment of celebration!”
“I’d also like to thank Speedo, Make Up For Ever, CIBC Team Next, La Fondation de l’athlète d’excellence et Imaginéo as well as Own The Podium, the INS and Sport Canada for all the support they have been giving me and other synchro swimmers in Canada”, added Simoneau. “Without them, it would be impossible to have the commitment necessary to achieve these kinds of results.”
Her total score of 170.8927, also a junior personal best, was second only to Russia’s Anisiya Neborako who won gold with 171.1350. Asuka Tasaki from Japan earned the bronze with 168.7817.
Meng Chen, Canada’s Senior National Team and Simoneau solo’s coach, was very happy with Simoneau’s performance. “Jacqueline is a fighter. After coming in fourth after preliminaries, she worked hard to make the necessary adjustments and today, she went out and stole the crowd’s heart. She was dynamic, emotional and fully engaged during her whole routine and the crowd and judges all saw it. Afterwards, people from all nationalities came to congratulate her! I’m also particularly happy that she won the figures event, proving that Canada is not just strong in routines: we are on the right path technically as well.”
“It’s such a joy to watch such a talented athlete compete under the Canadian flag,” said Synchro Canada’s CEO Jackie Buckingham. “We have a very strong support system to develop young athletes in our country. With Senior National Coach Meng Chen at the helm and Jacqueline and our current group of young stars leading the way, synchronized swimming has a very bright future in Canada.”
Canadian Team and Duet place sixth
In the team event, Canada’s young team staged a comeback in the finals, putting together a dazzling final performance on their theme “Yoga” that earned them 158.0493 points.
Canadian swimmers were: Andrée-Anne Côté (SynchroÉlite de Québec, St-Georges, QC), Wenjing Deng (Granite Synchro, Whitby, ON), Rebecca Harrower (Dollard Synchro, Edmonton, AB), Clare McGovern (Granite Synchro, Toronto, ON), Halle Pratt (Calgary Aquabelles, Calgary, AB), Abby Russell (Calgary Aquabelles, Calgary, AB), Erica Slavin (Calgary Aquabelles, Calgary, AB) and Kali Wong (Calgary Aquabelles, Calgary, AB). Alternates were Cossette Leblanc (Burlington Olympium Synchro Club, Toronto, ON) and Madeline Walker-Byron (Granite Synchro, Ottawa, ON).
“The team came together and pulled off the best swim of their time together”, mentioned Canadian Head Coach Jenn Tregale. “They had great highlights, good patterns, and great energy.”
Russia took the gold with 167.9395 points, Japan was second at 166.0544 and China third at 162.9142.
In duet, Clare McGovern of Toronto and Erica Slavin of Calgary (alternate: Wejnig Deng) finished sixth with 159.3883 points. Anastasia and Daria Bayandina of Russia were the winners at 168.8498, Kano Omata and Sakiko Tasaki of Japan a very close second at 168.7142 and Liuyi and Qianyi Wang of China third at 162.9053.
“We are very pleased with our performance today”, said the pair. “Even after only 8 weeks together, we looked like a duet that had been together for a long time. We really went all out in the swim with a lot of energy and pushed hard until the end.”
“Synchro Canada is extremely proud of our athletes and coaches for their performances this year”, mentioned Synchro Canada’s Domestic Technical Director Jadine Cleary. “It’s important for us to recognize that all of the countries who placed ahead of us this week were in a centralized training program for minimum of 8 months to 1 year. Under the circumstances, Canada’s performance, coming after an 8 week preparation period, was outstanding.”
“Upon our return, we look forward to throughly debriefing our performances and planning our next steps”, she added.
“A special shout out to our international official Diane van der Pol and Aquatics Canada President, Lisa Schott, who both played a very supportive role with the team this year. And of course, our warmest thanks to all our supportive fans both here in Helsinki and at home.”
PHOTO: Kari Pajunen
About Synchro Canada
Synchro Canada is the national organization governing synchronized swimming in Canada. It represents 10 provincial associations, a territorial association, as well as some 150 clubs and 12,000 members across Canada. A member of FINA, the world’s governing aquatic sports organization, Synchro Canada promotes the quest for excellence by developing the athletes, citizens and ambassadors of the sport of synchronized swimming at every level.
Synchro Canada would like to thank its sponsors:
Program partners: Sport Canada, Own The Podium, the Institut national du sport du Québec
Official Aquatic Supplier: Speedo Canada
Official make up: MAKE UP FOR EVER
Official suppliers: Knox Gelatine, AdUp, National Car Rental
Official hotel: Hilton Hotels Canada
For further information, visit Synchro Canada’s Website at www.synchro.ca or follow Synchro Canada on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
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Email: [email protected]
Cell.: (418) 420-2125