Two familiar faces were absent last week in Montreal as the 2018 Fall Evaluation Camp got underway: Gabrielle Boisvert and Laurence Vézina have decided to retire from artistic swimming.

The two athletes, both hailing from Quebec City’s Quebec Excellence Synchro club, were members of the Senior National Team since 2015 and 2016 respectively. Known for their tireless determination and passion for the sport, they represented Team Canada throughout their careers at various World Series events as well as the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Gabrielle Boisvert, 23, Cap-Rouge (QC)

The years Gabrielle has spent practicing artistic swimming are filled with good memories. Her best one with the National Team is having the chance to compete at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest: “We had a good performance in the most impressive location I’ve ever seen.”

“My career hasn’t always been easy, I’ve had to work hard, but I am proud of what I’ve become because of synchro (artistic swim) and of everything I’ve accomplished throughout the years,” said Boisvert, looking back on her 18-year career.

Gabrielle is ready to move on to another chapter in her life, as she is now back to school full-time in Kinesiology. She doesn’t plan on staying away from artistic swimming – she has been coaching for many years and plans on continuing.

The end to a long career comes with numerous people to thank. Gabrielle would like to thank her family, her coaches at Quebec Excellence Synchro (Jojo Carrier-Thivierge, Kasia Kulesza and Marie-Renée Blanchet), her teammates and everyone who has helped her during her career.

Laurence Vézina, 21, L’Ancienne-Lorette (QC)

Looking back on her career, Laurence feels honored to have had the chance to represent Canada on the international scene and lucky to have visited so many great countries doing so. “As I see it, I’ve had a really great career that reflects all the efforts I’ve made since I was young. I will cherish so many beautiful moments shared at the pool working very hard with my teammates.”

Her best memory with the Senior National Team is her participation at last year’s World Championships in Budapest. “It was the biggest competition I’ve taken part in and I loved sharing that unforgettable moment with my teammates. The feeling of performing before a huge crowd and in front of the world’s best was simply amazing.”

Laurence is already moving on to new challenges, as she is already back in school full-time working towards a degree in Pharmacy. As she moves away from the sport that has taught her so much, she plans on “putting as much energy and love into her studies as she did in her high performance sport years”.

Like her teammate, Laurence wishes to thank the people who stood by her during her career: “I would like to thank my family, who has always supported me, my coaches – including my sister Anne-Marie, who has been a model for me since I was little, and all the teammates I’ve had the chance to swim with during all these years.”

Canada Artistic Swimming Chief Sport Office Julie Healy remembers the two athletes fondly. “In a sport where the team is everything, Laurence was the ultimate team player. Her ability to confidently swim in any spot in the technical or free team routines on a moment’s notice, combined with her exceptional ability as a flyer made her a valuable asset to our national teams. Gab’s contribution to the choreographic process was a contributing factor to the team’s success.  Both women were exceptional role models and their impact on the next generation of young swimmers will last for many years. Throughout their careers they gave so much of themselves to their sport and teammates and represented Canada on the international stage with great pride.  Canada Artistic Swimming is forever grateful for all they have done for Canada and we wish them the very best for the next stage in lives.”
“Canada Artistic Swimming is pleased to recognize Gabrielle and Laurence on their graduation from the Senior National Team,” added Jackie Buckingham, CEO.  “Both of these young women represented Canada strongly and will take the confidence and commitment to purpose that their training and international competition experience has provided them into the next phase of their careers.  I speak for the whole organization in thanking them for their leadership in shaping the sport during their years in our Senior Team program.”