Canada’s two synchronized swimmers, Jacqueline Simoneau, 19, from Montreal, QC, and Karine Thomas, 27, from Gatineau, QC, completed their Olympic competition with a powerful performance to finish in 7th place.
After posting a Personal Best score yesterday in the Technical Routine, the duo were the first to compete the Free Routine in the group of 12 teams in the final. Using the haunting composition “Tore my Heart” by the contemporary artist OONA, the two athletes drew the audience into their stunning performance and their score of 90.6 set the standard for the field. The Canadian duet’s ‘Heartbreak’ routine featured what has become their trademark; unique, creative, difficult choreography swum with power and passion and with great attention to detail.
Their combined final score 179.8916, after a 7th place finish in the Technical Routine, and a 7th place finish in today’s Free Routine, had them in 7th position overall. The defending Olympic champions Russia took the gold medal, followed by China with the silver, and Japan took the bronze. Ahead of the Canadians in 4th place was Ukraine, followed by Spain (5th) and Italy (6th).
Simoneau summed up her first Olympic experience saying, “We were able to achieve the performance that we wanted today, and we left everything in the pool. It’s been an incredible experience – this whole journey – the past four years, and everyone who has been a part of it. When I look back on it, I realize how amazing it’s been and how it’s made me grow as a person and as an athlete.”
Thomas, who competed in 2012 in London in the team event, said that the highlight for her was “seeing our coaches really happy at the end. They have been with us from the beginning and they are just as nervous and excited as we are. Seeing them really happy and feeling that success with us was a special moment.”
Head Coach Meng Chen was proud of the way her team attacked the three performances in the event. “This was their day. They really put their best out there, and their energy and confidence built with every performance here. As a coach I am very happy and proud. For me it was a very memorable competition, and I hope it was also filled with the best memories for them.” She is already looking ahead to using this experience to advance the sport in Canada. “This was a great experience for all coaches in Canada. I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned here and collaborating with our coaches to look at the next four years and what we can do together. We need to keep moving forward, believe in our goals and start working towards the next world championships.”
“This duet proudly represented the entire Canadian synchronized swimming community with their outstanding Olympic performance,” said Jackie Buckingham, Synchro Canada CEO. “Our team felt so supported with messages from the clubs, coaches, young swimmers and fans across the country. People across the broader Synchro world are talking about Canada, and seeing how the sport is growing and developing here, and that we’re taking it in new directions.”
Buckingham is already looking ahead to the next Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. “We know there are many interesting changes ahead. We hope to see a World Cup circuit established over the next quadrennial leading up to 2020, which may impact world rankings and the future qualifying system for the Olympic Games. We are confident that both our national team and our duet will represent Canada in Japan. And the sport is already discussing adjustments to the judging/scoring system that will enable it to keep pace with the way the athletes and coaches have evolved the technical aspects.”
She added, “With the strength of our coaches, renewed focus on the development of next generation athletes, and the dedication and alignment of our support system, synchronized swimming is only going to grow and get stronger in Canada. It is an exciting time for the sport.”