At the recent Budapest Open – the second leg of the 2021 FINA Artistic Swimming World Series – Canada’s national duet, Claudia Holzner and Jacqueline Simoneau, amassed four gold medals between them. On the heels of that success, the athletes wanted to recognize and thank the many experts who prepared them for that competition and are contributing to their Olympic journey.  The two are preparing to represent Canada in the duet competition at the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Although this season has presented many obstacles to normal preparation, several key people have continued to work hard through Covid-19 protocols, and changes in schedules, plans and training restrictions to provide amazing support to the duet and the national team. As Claudia Holzner outlined, “Competing in Budapest was a fantastic experience, and we are so lucky to be able to travel during this difficult time in the world. Thank you to everyone who has helped our preparation. We are looking forward to taking the next steps and continuing to improve as we get closer to the Games.”

The talented and committed resource staff includes:

  • Coaches: Gabor Szauder, Kasia Kulesza and Karine Doré
  • Choreographer: Denise Sauvé (duet)
  • Music Expert: Hugo Chouinard (@sk8mixhugo)
  • Suit design and construction: Courtney Grant (Living Water Designs)

In addition, the athletes also recognized and thanked Institut National Sportif (INS) for providing world class training and facility support including their amazing integrated support team (IST): Dr. Josée Rainville (medical), Katie Smith (physiotherapist), Véronique Richard (mental performance coach), Sylvain Gaudet (exercise physiologist), Catherine Naulleau (nutritionist), Alain Delorme (strength and conditioning lead), and Sandra Gonzalez (strength and conditioning). In particular, the fact that INS was able to create protocols that allowed for training to continue, even when most facilities had to close, has been hugely appreciated by the duet.

The athletes also greatly value the advice and counsel of the international judges who visited the centre as often as they were able to for in-person monitoring and assessments.  A special shout-out to Canada’s Olympic judge, Nancy Reed, for her amazing support. She provided a regular and much-appreciated critical eye to replace the actual competitive experience which had been absent until this past weekend’s event in Hungary.

As Jacqueline Simoneau noted, “It’s a true honour to represent Canada on the international stage, especially during a pandemic. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and am thankful for all the support!”

CAS congratulates its athletes on their work ethic and their success to date and adds its appreciation and recognition of Sport Canada, the Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium for their efforts to support high performance sport at this challenging time.