Côté, Holzner and Simoneau all taking active role in the event
Three members of Canada’s 2020 Olympic Artistic Swimming Team will be active participants behind the scenes as Canada gets ready to host the 2022 FINA World Junior Artistic Swimming Championships. The event takes place August 23-27 at Desjardins Aquatic Centre – PEPS (Université Laval) in Québec City.
For Andrée-Anne Côté it’s been a learning experience to see what goes into planning an event of this nature, with over 325 participants from 28 different countries. She’s been working as an Event Assistant, hired through the Canada Summer Jobs program, coordinating a number of different aspects of the event.
“It’s really special to be working from outside the pool,” said Andrée-Anne. “It’s awesome to see all the work that goes into organizing a big event like this one. I feel like this job pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and to use my creativity.”
One of her responsibilities was coordinating the Alumni Day program, which will be part of the events on Saturday, August 27. “I am looking forward to having a lot of athletes coming for Alumni Day. I never had the chance to meet many of them so it will be a great opportunity to talk to them.”
Also involved with the event in a new role is Claudia Holzner, who competed in both the team and duet events at the Tokyo Olympic Games. And she’s excited to see athletes she’s been working with now competing at the championships.
“I had the privilege to intern coach with the incredible staff surrounding the Junior National Team just a week ago in Montreal,” said Claudia. “It was a fantastic experience! To see a group of athletes that exude determination, drive, passion and a will to learn is something special. I am excited to see how they will perform and I know they will make Canada proud!”
Claudia is also looking forward to learning more about broadcasting, as she will have the opportunity to do broadcast commentary on the Friday and Saturday of the event.
Joining Claudia in gaining broadcast experience is her 2020 teammate and duet partner Jacqueline Simoneau. The two-time Olympian will begin her time at the championships with a special presentation to the young athletes before the competition begins. As the Athlete Ambassador for the event, she’s looking forward to encouraging them in their sport. She reflected on what competing at home meant to her.
“Performing in front of a home crowd in an international competition has been some of my favourite memories when competing.” And she plans to share from other experience as well. “Throughout my career I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to learn from some of the best athletes in the world, which has shaped me into the person and athlete that I am today,” said Jacqueline. “I hope to make a positive impact and share some of my learnings with the next generation!”
Then Jacqueline will make her way to the broadcast booth, where she will assist with the livestream. “I’ll be taking on a new role as commentator for these Junior Worlds. I’m looking forward to building this new skill!” As well, she can’t wait to watch the athletes in the pool. “I’m looking forward to watching our Junior Team experiencing these special moments and sharing their passion for the sport with the audience!” In addition to commentary, she will also be working in the mixed zone area, getting a chance to speak with athletes as they come off the pool deck post-competition.
Both Claudia and Jacqueline will be working alongside a leading artistic swimming commentator, Andrea Holland. A former artistic swimmer who competed in the 1970s for Great Britain and a former coach of the Swiss and British artistic swimming teams, she has been a highly respected artistic swimming freelance commentator since the 90’s, working at Olympic Games, World Games, Commonwealth Games, World & European Championships.
Alumni Day will welcome many generations of Canadian National Team Members to the Pool
Saturday, August 27th will be a special day at the Desjardins Aquatic Centre as many former members of Canada’s National Team are welcomed to Alumni Day.
Several members who competed for Canada in the 1970s, including Jojo Carrier-Thivierge and Madeleine Ramsay who won the silver medal in duet in 1973, and Jojo who won silver in solo at the same World Championships plan to attend. Alongside them will be Linda Bédard and Sylvie Fortier, who also won silver in duet in 1975, with Sylvie taking silver in the solo. From the 1980s, Penny Vilagos who won gold as part of Team Canada in both 1982 and 1985, as well as silver at the 1992 Olympic Games in duet will be there. Chantal Vallières was a member of the world championships team in 1994, and actually competed at the very first FINA World Junior Artistic Swimming Championship in 1989, in Cali, Colombia. From the 2000s, Lyne Beaumont from the Olympic bronze medal winning team from Sydney in 2000 will attend. Rounding out the alumni is a group from the 2009 to 2012 era. Stéphanie Leclair and Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon were world championship bronze medallists in 2009 and 2011. Stéphanie Durocher, Jo-Annie Fortin and Valérie Welsh were all members of the 2012 Olympic team which took fourth place in London.
Interest in seeing the World Junior event has been high so more familiar faces are expected to join on the 27th. Tickets for the Championships are available through finaquebec2022.com