As Synchro Canada’s National Senior Team prepares for its first World Series event in Surrey at the end of the month, two veteran national team member have decided to move on to new challenges. Retiring from the senior national team are Gabriella Brisson and Elizabeth Savard.

Gabriella Brisson, 24, Calgary, AB

After an impressive career in which she won numerous national titles and international medals, qualified for many national teams, and took part in World Championships, Pan Am Games and an Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Gabriella has decided to take a step back from the sport to which she has devoted 17 years of her life.

“I am so lucky to have had the honour of competing for Canada for so many years, to have been able to travel the world, and to have met so many incredible people along the way,” stated Gabe in her heartfelt retirement letter. Although she didn’t quite reach her dream of competing for Canada at the Olympics, she mentions that she “did reach every other checkpoint I had set for myself along the way and am now able to see all of my accomplishments for what they’re worth”.

Last season’s Senior National Team captain says one of her best memories with the National team was winning the 2015 Pan Am Games. The feeling of competing at home made her feel “unstoppable, with the support of the entire country behind us”.

While recovering from a concussion that occurred last summer, Gabe discovered another passion in her life – cooking – and she aspires to continue in this path in the future and perhaps open her own restaurant one day. She recently began her culinary career in a professional kitchen where she is learning from some of the best chefs in the country.

With such a long career comes a long list of people to thank. In her retirement letter, Gabriella takes the time to thank her early club coaches, as well as many other coaches that touched her career along the way. She also expresses gratitude towards the Integrated Support and Medical team members with whom she worked at the Centre of Excellence.

She reserves her last words for her teammates and family: “Thank you to all the teammates I had over the years for your friendship and support and for constantly pushing me to be better. Finally, I could not have done any of this without the unwavering support of my family. From driving me to the pool every day to following me around the world as a cheer squad. From pep talking me when I’m at my worst to celebrating with me when I’m at my best. I can’t even begin to thank you enough. Suzie, Max, Ali, and all of my extended family, you guys are champions for putting up with everything synchro entails for 17 years. To everyone who’s supported my career in any way, at any time, thank you. I truly could not have achieved the things I did without the encouragement I felt from all of you.”

Elizabeth Savard, 22, Laval

After representing Canada at the last two World Championships in Russia and Hungary, Elizabeth is retiring from the sport with a heart full of memories forged with her teammates over the years. “I will remember all the moments of laughter and all the tears, but also the pride and incredible closeness that we shared as a team. In our own ways, we made a difference in each other’s lives on a daily basis and created a truly special bond.”

Her best memories from her career range from the highest levels of competition to the opportunities she had to share her love of the sport. While competing at FINA’s World Championships in 2015 and 2017 against the best teams in the world is a definite career highlight, she also cherishes the moments “when I had the chance to perform in front of younger generations of swimmers and pass on our passion for the sport.”

Elizabeth is now back at school, working towards a bachelor’s degree in social work. She would like to thank her family and her boyfriend for their support since day one, as well as every athlete with whom she had the chance to share her passion every day.

“Both Elizabeth and Gabriella have been tremendous representatives of our sport and our country,” noted Julie Healy, Synchro Canada’s Chief Sport Officer.

“Their hard work, dedication and humble personalities, always putting the needs of the team first, will be greatly missed. Throughout their careers, the were amazing role models who inspired a new generation of swimmers in Canada. On behalf of all Synchro Canada’s members, we thank “Eli” and “Gabe” for the amazing contributions they made to arttistic swimming in Canada. We congratulate and thank them for their outstanding careers and we wish them every success in the next phase of their lives.”