Strong routine and figure results highlight a successful week for Canada

Canada delivered an impressive team routine performance on Tuesday, earning the 5th highest score for its Phoenix-themed routine at the FINA World Junior Championships held in Kazan, Russia.

Competing immediately after the hometown favourites and eventual gold medal winners Russia, Canada improved on its preliminary routine result by more than 1.5 points, earning 86.7667 and a cumulative score of 162.1476, finishing sixth, a mere 0.5 points behind Spain. Russia took the gold with 170.8215 points, Japan was second at 166.5645 and Ukraine third at 165.6804.

“The team had a best ever performance tonight,” stated Associate Head Coach Jenn Tregale, who also led Team Canada junior at the 2012 and 2014 World Junior Championships. “They knew what they had to do and they went out and did it. I could not be more proud of them. They were sharp, swam with great energy throughout the routine and showed technical difficulty as well as great artistry. I am pleased to say that this amazing group of young women has caused a buzz here in Kazan and many people in the international community are talking about Canada!”  

Team veteran Andrée-Anne Côté, from St-Georges, QC, agreed with her coach: “We really saved our best for last.  This was without a doubt our best performance together.  Today, we all really connected and truly swam as a team.”

“The team did their job tonight,” added Synchro Canada Domestic Technical Director Jadine Cleary. “The building was literally shaking after Russia swam and our athletes stepped into that energy and had a fantastic swim.  We are proud of them and of our amazing coaching staff who led this group for the last 2 years.”

The week in Kazan was highlighted by several impressive achievements by Canadian athletes, a testament to the strength of the national team program as Canada marches its way back towards the podium.  In solo, 4-time national champion Halle Pratt, from Calgary, AB, swam to a tie in 4th place in the solo preliminary round.  In duet, the pair of Pratt and first-year junior Emily Armstrong went into finals boasting the 2nd highest figure score amongst all competitors.  In the figures competition, Canada improved its average score by 2.4 points from the last World Junior Championships in 2014, the second-best 2-year improvement amongst the top ten teams. Armstrong, of Scarborough, ON, led the way with an impressive 12th position and a score of 78.4369.

Canadian duet also finishes sixth

In duet, Emily Armstrong and Halle Pratt (alternate : Andrée-Anne Côté) finished sixth with 163.6419 points.  Veronica Kalinin and Daria Kulagina of Russia were the winners at 168.8498, while Yana Nariezhna and Yelyzaveta Yakhno of Ukraine barely edged Kirara Oya and Mashiro Yasunaga of Japan for silver, 165.9185 to 165.7798.  Spain was the only other country ahead of Canada at 164.1737.

Halle Pratt fifth in solo event

In the solo event that took place Wednesday morning, Calgary’s Halle Pratt performed a powerful rendition of her Medusa-themed routine for which she received a score of 86.8667, almost a point more than her preliminary round.  Her total score of 164.3802 earned her the fifth position, behind Russian Varvara Subbotina at 173.9189, Yelyzaveta Yakhno of Ukraine at 169.3473, Irene Toledano of Spain at 167.1878 and Sakiko Akutsu of Japan.

The 2016 Junior National Team members were:

ARMSTRONG, Emily (Scarborough, ON – Regional Training Centre-Ontario)

CÔTÉ, Andrée-Anne (St-Georges, QC – Quebec Excellence Synchro)

DICKINSON, Stefanie (North Vancouver, BC – Vancouver Pacific Wave)

FIOLA-DION, Camille (Rimouski, QC – Quebec Excellence Synchro)

HOPPER, Paige (Calgary, AB, Calgary Aquabelles)

JOLY, Audrey (St-Eustache, QC – Dollard Synchro)

McGUIRE, Gwendolyn (Sherwood Park, AB – Centre of Excellence)

ORMOND, Sion (Aurora, ON – Regional Training Centre-Ontario)

PRATT, Halle (Calgary, AB – Calgary Aquabelles)

WINKELAAR, Cassandra (Calgary, AB – Calgary Aquabelles)

The Synchro Canada 2016 Junior National Team coaching staff includes Head Coach Meng Chen, Associate Head Coach Jenn Tregale(Calgary, AB, Calgary Aquabelles) and assistant coaches Kasia Kulesza (Québec, QC, Quebec Excellence Synchro) and Manny Wu(Toronto, ON, Regional Training Centre-Ontario).  They were accompanied by Team Leader Jadine Cleary (Calgary, AB, Synchro Canada Domestic Technical Director) and Team Manager Jennifer Koptie (Scarborough, ON, Regional Training Centre-Ontario).

Nancy Reed, from Montreal, QC, was the Canadian judge for the event.

Archived videos from all events are available on FINA’s YouTube channel.