After nearly a decade on Canada’s national artistic swimming team, Claudia Holzner is staying connected to the sport from the other side of the pool deck. Following her Olympic debut in Tokyo at the 2020 Summer Games, she’s currently taking a sabbatical from competition, but has found a new role with the team, that of apprentice coach!

Inspired as a six-year-old watching artistic swimming from the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, her dream of competing at an Olympics came true in the summer of 2021, after the Tokyo Games were postponed by a year. Alongside partner Jacqueline Simoneau, she finished a strong 5th in the duet event, and then followed up with  5th (team technical) and 6th (team free) place results in the team competition.

Although not ready to retire, she has set aside the rigors of high performance training for studies in Economics at Concordia University, with plans to complete a Bachelor of Commerce with a Major in Marketing. But once the new members of Canada’s national team program gathered to train at the INS in Montreal, Claudia came back to the pool as well.

She’s been working with the team a couple of days each week for the past few months. As part of Canada Artistic Swimming’s Olympian Apprentice Coaching program, she is learning new skills, while at the same time she is bringing her unique perspective to assist the team.

For the new athletes, having someone with Claudia’s experience is motivating. In addition to her Olympic competition, she is a three-time Pan American gold medalist, has won 37 medals on the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series circuit and represented Canada at four FINA World Aquatic Championships in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019. She inspires the team with her belief that “strong is beautiful.”

Already a certified yoga instructor, Claudia has also completed AquaGO instructor training to teach the fundamentals of aquatics to youngsters, has completed Respect In Sport certification, the CAC Safe Sport Module and is currently completing the Competition Development program through the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP).

“After being an athlete for 19 years, nine of those on the Senior National team, I am looking forward to exploring this new perspective,” said Claudia. “I’m learning so much from working alongside such experienced coaches, and I’m thrilled to be part of the Olympian Apprentice Coaching program. This team has so much potential, and it is a privilege to be able to work with them. It will be great to see them excel as they get into their 2022 competition season and to see them achieve their dreams.”

Canada Artistic Swimming is very pleased to have Claudia involved with the national program. Chief Sport Officer Kerri Morgan invites any other former Olympic athletes who are interested to contact her to find out how they can be involved in the Olympian Apprentice Coaching program.