The second Artistic Swimming event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games features the 8-member Canadian team. The athletes will take to the pool at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on August 6th and 7th.
A combination of long-serving national team members, and relative newcomers make up the squad. Representing Canada are: Emily Armstrong, 20, Toronto, Ont.; Rosalie Boissonneault, 18, Drummondville, Que.; Andrée-Anne Côté, 23, Saint-Georges, Que.; Camille Fiola-Dion, 23, Rimouski, Que.; Claudia Holzner, 27, Calgary, Alta.; Audrey Joly, 23, St-Eustache, Que.; Halle Pratt, 21, Calgary, Alta.; Jacqueline Simoneau, 24, Saint-Laurent, Que. The reserve member, Kenzie Priddell, 24, is from Regina, Sask.
It is an Olympic debut for all the athletes, with the exception of Jacqueline Simoneau, who competed in duet at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The team co-captains are Andrée-Anne Côté and Claudia Holzner.
Working with world-renowned and four-time Olympic champion Anastasia Ermakova, choreography for the Technical and Free Routines was originally created for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series (ASWS) Super Final. With both of those events postponed until 2021, the team competed the routines for the first time at the 2021 ASWS Super Final, earning bronze medals for both.
The entertaining and creative Technical Routine carries a Hip-Hop & Rap theme throughout the program. Although the five compulsory elements must be competed in the same order by each team, the Canadians have woven dance moves into it, adding energy and innovation to the acrobatic and skilled movements. The team worked with Canadian Samuel Chouinard, known for his collaboration with Olympic Ice Dance Champions Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, to perfect their choreography on land and apply it to the water.
In the Free Routine, the theme of Triumph is portrayed through the music and creative patterns in the water. Based on the coming together of all Canadians for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, they portray peoples’ dreams and triumphs throughout, most notably in the arm movements, reaching for the stars. The Canadians are known for their high-flying, daring acrobatic movements and lifts. The flyers worked with long-time acrobatic coach, Mickael Begon, and coach Devon Butters, from Canada’s National Diving Team, to perfect their dives and highlights.
The coaching team in Tokyo is Head Coach Gábor Szauder and Assistant Coach Kasia Kulesza. Assistant coach Karine Doré has remained at home in Montreal to work with the next gen program athletes. Additional support coaches who have worked with the team are Kerri Morgan, Head Coach and Mental Game Coach for the Olympium Synchro Swim Club, Toronto, and Yingli Hou, Head Coach for the Waterloo Region Artistic Swimming Club.
Canada’s Olympic judge assigned to the event is Nancy Reed from Montreal, Que.
The team event begins on Friday, August 6th with the Team Technical Routine. It concludes on Saturday, August 7th with the Team Free Routine. The scores from each segment are added together to determine medallists and placements. Medals are awarded at the conclusion of the Team Free Routine. All events are scheduled for 19:30 p.m. in Japan, 6:30 a.m. (Eastern) and 3:30 a.m. (Pacific).
Canada’s Record at the Olympics:
The team event was added to the Olympic program in 1996. Canada has won two medals in the team event, a silver in Atlanta in 1996 and a bronze in Sydney in 2000.