After 19 years dedicated to the sport of Synchronized Swimming, national team member Sandy Gill has announced her retirement.

Originally from Coquitlam, British Columbia, Sandy Gill (view full bio here) fell in love with the sport when she was just eight years old. Unable to fit dance lessons into the family schedule, she signed up for Synchro instead and was hooked immediately. Watching the national team perform in 2000 before the Olympic Summer Games in Sydney inspired her to pursue the sport at the highest level. During her career, she represented the Coquitlam Coralinas, the Pacific sport Aquasonics (Surrey), and the Calgary Aquabelles.

She has trained in Montreal at the Centre of Excellence as a member of the national team since 2006. One of her fondest memories is standing on the podium at the 2009 FINA World Trophy, where she helped Canada score a perfect 10 to win the team event, and hearing the Canadian national anthem played.

Sandy also took part in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 FINA World Trophy. She was on the team that competed at the 2014 Spain Open, the 2014 Japan Open, and the 2014 FINA World Cup. Her final National team competition was the 2016 Olympic qualifier in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the team finished fourth.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to retire after 19 years dedicated to this sport,” said Sandy in announcing her plans to Synchro Canada. “I sincerely wish the best for this team moving forward, because we really do deserve it. I would like to thank Synchro Canada for all the work you’ve done for our sport. I truly believe we have taken a great leap forwards the last few years. The athletes have a stronger support system than ever before. Keep it up!”

Sandy cited the standing ovation the team received at the 2013 FINA World Championships after the Combo performance as a true highlight of her career. She will miss the outstanding group of athletes she trained with every day.

“Competing at the Rio Olympic Qualifier in March 2016, I could not have asked to be there with a better team of athletes. The struggles we endured, and the challenges we overcame were momentous. I hope to be able to look back on this last competition and remember the joy and energy we had as a team. We were, in that moment, truly in synch.”

Senior National Team Head Coach Meng Chen paid tribute to Sandy’s dedication and indomitable spirit. “To be a competitive athlete at the highest level in Canada for ten years is truly a remarkable achievement. Sandy came to the pool every day prepared to train hard and do her best. On behalf of all Synchro Canada members, I want to thank her for her perseverance, her dedication and most of all her passion for our sport. She has been an integral part of our national team, and while we will miss her, we know she will stay connected with our sport for many, many years. We wish her the best as she goes in this exciting new direction.”

Sandy Gill’s immediate plans include completing her schooling at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University in Montreal, where she will be doing a major in Finance with a minor in Management.

As she heads into the next phase of her life, she also has a few thank yous for the many people who had been a part of her journey.

“I really have to thank everyone who has ever been a part of my synchro career, be it as a coach, a teammate, or one of our plentiful professionals, and everyone who has played their supportive role with unwavering excellence, from family and friends around the world, to the young athletes and fans whom I got to work with. It’s been a great 19 years, full of ups, downs, and unders! I’ve been very privileged to be a part of the National Team since 2006, and am sad to leave, but excited for the future.”