The first day of artistic swimming competition at the 2024 World Aquatics Championships featured the preliminary sessions in both the solo technical and duet technical events.
In the duet technical program, Jacqueline Simoneau and Audrey Lamothe kicked off their bid for a spot in the Paris Olympics with a clean routine that earned them 8th position and entry into Monday’s finals.
Swimming together for the first time in competition, the newly-formed pair was incredibly proud of their debut performance under enormous pressure.
“I was nervous for a lot of reasons,” stated 18-year-old Lamothe, from Montreal. First, as we’re aiming to qualify for Paris, there isn’t a lot of margin for error. We also wanted to do well for our community that has been supporting us through this journey. Finally, we felt it was important to set the tone for the rest of the competition right from the start, and we feel we’ve done this today.”
It was also an emotional swim for Lamothe who is still coming to grips with the fact that she’s competing at the highest international level with her childhood idol as a partner.
For 27-year-old Simoneau, the respect goes both ways: “Audrey manages to impress me on a daily basis. She’s extremely hard-working and pushes me to work harder and to be better, and I hope I am doing this for her as well. I couldn’t be prouder of how she handled herself today with so much on the line.”
The pair will take to the pool again for the finals on Monday, February 5, and again on Wednesday for the duet free preliminary round.
Simoneau third after solo technical prelims
The day started on a good note for Simoneau who celebrated her return to competition after a 2-year hiatus with a confident performance in the solo technical event.
“I don’t usually get nervous at competitions, but I certainly had butterflies today when I walked onto the stage,” confided Simoneau. “But then I just had a blast! It was my first time swimming under the new rules and I couldn’t be happier to have laid down a clean swim to start off my competition week.”
Swimming to Michael Buble’s “Save the Last Dance for Me”, Simoneau’s routine was awarded the full declared degree of difficulty (DD) of 34.7, for a total score of 260.75, good for third position in the preliminary round. Under the new scoring rules, athletes have the ability to change their DD between rounds, and several countries are using this strategy, including Simoneau, who has declared 38.5 heading into Saturday’s finals as she continues to strive for a podium finish.
Simoneau will swim in the solo technical finals at 2pm local, 6am EST. Finalists now perform in reverse order from their qualification standings, so she will swim 10th out of 12.
The evening session will feature the first team event of the competition, as Team Canada begins its quest for Olympic qualification in the acrobatic routine preliminaries. The event will get underway at 8pm local time, noon EST.
How to watch
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