The Canadian artistic swimming team landed in Doha, Qatar, for the 2024 World Championships with two objectives: move up the world rankings in order to re-establish itself as a competitor to be reckoned with on the world stage and qualify for the Paris Olympics.

The result can be summed up in two words: mission accomplished. Canada not only clinched qualifications for its team and duet for the upcoming Paris Olympics but also marked its most successful performance at a World Championships in more than a decade. Fueled by an unyielding team spirit, the Canadian squad managed to consistently deliver clean performances under mounting pressure, while veteran Jacqueline Simoneau earned two medals in her triumphant return, including the first gold in 33 years.

It would have been easy to dismiss Canada’s chances. With 5 countries already confirmed for the 10-team Olympic tournament through continental qualification, the 5 remaining spots were to be determined amongst of strong contingent of federations, including Olympic regulars like Japan, Spain, Ukraine, Italy and Greece as well as emergent United States and Israel. Canada, who had been ranked below all those countries at the last 2 World Championships in 2022 and 2023, would have to score higher than at least 3 of them to get in.

With 2 solid performance in the books after the first couple of events, including a 4th position in the Acrobatic Routine, Canada entered the Team Free event in 4th position in the race for Olympic qualification. Leading the way were USA, Japan and Spain who had forged a lead that would make them difficult to catch. Trailing behind were Israel and Greece, leaving Canada, Italy and Ukraine to battle it out for the last 2 remaining spots.

By virtue of its 9th position in the preliminary round, Canada was the first of the three to swim and could not avoid getting another basemark on the same acrobatic element that had plagued them in the preliminary round. This left the door open and Italy walked right through it, delivering a clean performance that punched their ticket to Paris. Canada’s Olympic hopes hung in the balance as Ukraine dove in next, starting strong but missing a few elements and hybrids as Canadians athletes and coaches alike waited for the scores that would determine their fate. In the end Ukraine’s effort was not enough and Canada ended up in 7th position in the Team Free event with a score that confirmed its qualification for the Paris Olympics by punching the very last ticket available in Doha.

“I’m just so incredibly proud of this team,” said Chief Sport Officer Kerri Morgan, who also acted as Head Coach in Doha. “They are a truly extraordinary group of young women and there is no limit to what they can achieve. I can’t wait to see what they will do in Paris!”

Audrey Lamothe and Jacqueline Simoneau qualify for Paris Olympics in duet

While the team qualification confirmed a spot in the duet event for Canada in Paris, the newly-formed duet of Audrey Lamothe and returning veteran Jacqueline Simoneau was impossible to miss in Doha, establishing themselves, even after a few short months swimming together, as a pair to watch for the upcoming World Cup season and Olympics.

For Lamothe, training each day and competing with childhood idol Simoneau is a gift. She remembers vividly being 10 years old and watching Jacqueline Simoneau and Karine Thomas win the duet event at the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games to qualify Canada for the Rio Olympics, and she can barely believe now that she’s the one on the verge of swimming with her in an Olympic event.

In Doha, the pair delivered 4 basemark-free routines, seemingly growing in confidence with every outing. They ended up in 4th position in aggregate scores used for Olympic qualification, which would;d easily have been enough to punch their ticket to Paris if the team hadn’t qualified. They now have 5 months and a World Cup season to keep fine-tuning their partnership as they get ready for the Olympics.

“We’ re both very similar in a lot of ways, and Audrey is just such an incredible hard-worker, I feel like there’s no limit to what we can achieve together, said Simoneau. “I can’t wait to see what we can achieve now that we have such an important competition under our belt and that we have some more time to work together on our routines.”

Simoneau wins 2 medals in solo events

When she returned to training in advance of the Doha World Championships, Simoneau’s goal was to help the squad qualify for the Olympic Games. An established competitor in the solo event when she left the sport in 2021, Simoneau also wanted to give another shot at winning medals on the World Championships stage.

In Doha, she went 2 for 2, first winning silver in the solo technical event, and then going for broke in the solo free finals, increasing her degree of difficulty by more than 8 points to reach the coveted top of the podium and the first gold medal for Canada in 33 years, since Sylvie Frechette had won the solo event in the 1991 Worlds in Perth.

Team Composition

The team that took part in the 2024 World Aquatics Championships was:

Sydney Carroll (Saskatoon, Sask.)
Scarlett Finn (Toronto, Ont.)
Laurianne Imbeau (Quebec City, Que.)
Audrey Lamothe (Montreal, Que.)
Jonnie Newman (Calgary, Alta.)
Raphaelle Plante (Quebec City, Que.)
Kenzie Pridell (Regina, Sask.)
Alicia Rehel (Mirabel, Que.)
Claire Scheffel (Brantford, Ont.)
Jacqueline Simoneau (St-Laurent, Que.)
Florence Tremblay (Rimouski, Que.)
Olena Verbinska (Aurora, Ont.)

Coaches and staff

Kerri Morgan – Head Coach and Chief Sport Officer
Lyza Yakhno – Coach
Kasia Kulesza – Coach
Claire Calsina – Team Manager
Maude Alexandre-D’anjou – Therapist
Stéphane Côté – Media Liaison

Canadian official Lianna Sottile also took part in the World Championships as a judge.

Results and Rankings

Final results and ranking from the competition can be reviewed on our event page.