It was another Personal Best (PB) for Canada’s artistic swimmers, with the team scoring almost two full points higher than ever for its dynamic Free Routine at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

As Co-Captain Claudia Holzner described it, “We did everything. We left it in all in the pool. There’s nothing that we could have done better.” The team scored 92.533 for its Free Routine that depicted the triumphant coming together of Canadians when the country hosted the 2010 Olympic Games. That theme was carried from the opening sequence on the pool deck, through the expressive movements and acrobatic highlights of the pool routine, woven into the difficult patterns, and reflected in the innovative design of their red and white swimsuits.

When the Free Routine score was added to the 91.4992 score from the Technical Routine, the overall score of 184.0325 had the Canadians in 6th place. They were nudged out of 5th place by Italy by just .1047. The Russian Olympic Committee won the gold medal, China the silver, and Ukraine the bronze. Host country Japan finished fourth. There were ten teams in the competition, although only nine competed, as Greece withdrew after several athletes tested positive for Covid.

The Canadian team achieved its goal of moving up in the world ranking. One of seven first-time Olympians on the team, Audrey Joly, reflected on that aspect.  “It’s really hard to move up in this sport, so we’re really proud that we did move up a rank. We were really pleased with our performance tonight and the one from yesterday. We gave it all in the pool. We left our souls in the pool.”

Rosalie Boissonneault noted that “We had a great team spirit together before we swam the free routine. Everyone was ready to show the world how hard we have been working on this. Hopefully, we’ve been able to inspire a new generation (through our performances).”

It was an unusual experience, preparing for and competing in these Games in the Covid pandemic era. Holzner remarked that “to have all of our expectations of an Olympic Games go out the window and then show up here and have our best performances ever and exceed our expectations, it’s been exceptional.”

Halle Pratt thanked everyone for their support during this time. “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. It’s truly one of a kind to do it during the pandemic and to go through the whole pre-Olympic year in a pandemic. I’m really proud of everything that we did and I just want to thank everybody back home who got me to this point and my whole journey here.”

Emily Armstrong also appreciated the encouragement from afar as the Games went on. “This was a really unforgettable experience and this team made it really special. The team had amazing performances…there’s a lot we can be proud of. And it’s really inspiring to feel all the love back home in Canada since we didn’t have any spectators with us. The support through social media and from my family has been really outstanding. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

It was a truly memorable experience for Camille Fiola-Dion. “I will remember this experience for the rest of my life. It’s like a dream come true. It was very special to be in the village with the best athletes in the world. And also at the pool with all the artistic swimming stars that we have been watching since we were kids, and now we’re in the pool with them!”

For Co-Captain, Andrée-Anne Côté, it was “unforgettable to swim with athletes and teammates that you’ve competed against and now you’re together as national teammates. You can dream about what it’s like to be at the Olympics, but when you live it, it’s completely different. It’s just an exceptional feeling to be amongst the best athletes in the world in your sport. And then to feel this team bond the way it did. We are truly very proud of what we’ve accomplished here – laying down our best two performances ever as a team and going up one rank in the world rankings.”

For the only returning Olympian on the squad, Jacqueline Simoneau it was different than 2016, when only the duet had qualified to compete. “This experience has been truly incredible. To be able to share it with a team as amazing as these guys just makes it that much more memorable — every single moment from eating in the cafeteria together to living in our Olympic Village apartment to swimming and creating memories in the pool together This experience just makes it that much more special because it was shared between this amazing team.”

It was a special moment for Canada Artistic Swimming, as the team had narrowly missed qualifying for the 2016 Games. As CEO, Jackie Buckingham said, “We are so proud of the way our athletes overcame hurdles and challenges all season. They rose to every occasion to compete at the highest level and have inspired the next generation of artistic swimmers. We thank them for their tenacity and grit – and for executing truly memorable performances.” She summed up the Tokyo 2020 experience by saying, “They are true Olympians in every sense.”

Buckingham is also seeing changes coming in the sport before the next Olympic Games in Paris in just three years. “Our sport continues to develop and the gap between performances is almost imperceptible at times. As athlete performances have pressed right up to the maximum 10 score, it has stimulated the desire in FINA to design a new approach to scoring. We are looking forward to a system that will allow the technical measurement to reflect the ever-increasing technical difficulty presented by the athletes.”

She also thanked the ‘team around the team’. “We had an incredibly dedicated coaching and support staff with the team in Tokyo. They helped create the best possible environment for our team to thrive, to stay calm, and achieve their Olympic goals.”


Name Hometown Club
Armstrong, Emily Toronto, ON Variety Village Artistic Swimming
Boissonneault, Rosalie Drummondville, QC Montreal Synchro
Côté, Andrée-Anne St-Georges, QC Québec Excellence Synchro
Fiola-Dion, Camille Rimouski, QC Québec Excellence Synchro
Holzner, Claudia Calgary, AB Calgary Aquabelles
Joly, Audrey St-Eustache, QC Dollard Artistic Swimming
Pratt, Halle Calgary, AB Calgary Aquabelles
Simoneau, Jacqueline Saint-Laurent, QC Montreal Synchro
Priddell, Kenzie – Reserve Regina, SK Regina Synchro / Dollard Artistic Swimming


Name Role
Szauder, Gábor Head Coach
Kulesza, Kasia Assistant Coach
Healy, Julie Team Leader
Smith, Katie Physiotherapist
Côté, Stéphane Media Attaché


Name Hometown
Reed, Nancy Montréal (QC)