After Friday’s solo technical preliminary round, Jacqueline Simoneau had a decision to make ahead of today’s final. She was sitting in third position after a strong performance, even though her degree of difficulty (DD) was more than 3 points lower than her competitor in the gold medal position. She could play it safe and rely on another powerful, clean swim or, in the ultimate high-risk/high-reward game, she could increase her DD to give her a better chance to move up in the rankings.
Her hesitation was short-lived: she declared 38.350, a whopping 3.65 above her preliminary routine’s difficulty and something she had been working on with coach Karine Doré. And today in the Aspire Dome pool in Doha, the risk paid off: Jacqueline scored a massive 269.2767 to capture silver. The medal is the first for Canada in artistic swimming since 2011, and its first silver medal in 30 years.
“This medal is really the cherry on top for me,” stated Simoneau, who just returned to training a few months ago after a 2-year hiatus. “I didn’t come back for medals, I just came back because I love to swim and now I’m just thrilled to have this around my neck today. I feel like this medal belongs to so many people who’ve helped me along the way – it also belongs to everyone who’s been there as a part of my journey.”
In a sport where athletes spend years perfecting their technique and fine tuning their routines, Simoneau’s ability to get back to the very highest level of the sport on the international scene in such a short time speaks to her incredible talent, her commitment, and one simple secret:
“It’s all about love and passion for the sport. If you truly love what you do, it’s easy to immerse yourself in it and pick up right back where you left off.”
Simoneau will be right back in the pool tomorrow morning for the solo free preliminaries, for which she has declared the second highest degree of difficulty in the field. The event starts at 9:30am local time, 1:30am EST.
Canada Fourth in Acrobatic Routine Preliminaries
In the evening session, Canada began its quest for a ticket to Paris in the team event with the preliminary round of the acrobatic routine event. Swimming 15th out of 19 competitors, Canada picked up where it left off in Santiago by swimming a clean routine that earned them 4th position going into tomorrow finals.
“We’re always a very tight unit but tonight we felt especially connected,” said team co-captain Kenzie Priddell. “We really couldn’t have asked for a better debut. Now it’s important to get some rest, regroup, and tackle tomorrow’s final just like we did today.”
The top 12 teams advanced to Sunday’s final and Canada will swim in 9th position. The event starts at 2pm local time, 8am EST.
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