Jacqueline Simoneau of St-Laurent (QC) and Karine Thomas of Gatineau (QC) dominated the field today at the CIBC Pan Am Aquatic Centre to claim Pan Am gold in duet and, with it, their golden ticket for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“We were pretty nervous going into our routine, just because it is so challenging to swim, » said Thomas. « But walking out to that kind of reception from the crowd, with our family in the stands as well, it’s just an incredible feeling.”
Simoneau could hardly believe that her Olympic dream had come true.
“It feels like all my dreams are coming true today. When I saw that number 1 on the screen, I thought ‘Oh my gosh, the Olympics!’”
The early qualification will mean that the duet will now have a full year to prepare for Rio without worrying about qualification. It will give them the opportunity to get themselves ready to wow the World in 2016.
The Canadians received an even 90.000 for their scorpion-themed free program, for a total of 178.0881 points. Karem Achach and Nuria Diosdado from Mexico earned silver with 170.7800 while Americans Mariya Koroleva and Alison Williams received bronze with 166.3876.
Canada wins gold in team
Canada also took gold in the team event presented later in the day. The team, uplifted by the boisterous home crowd, signed off in style on a perfect Pan Am competition where Canada won all four events it entered.
Their 90.200 mark earned them a total of 178.1094 points, comfortably ahead of the Mexicans at 172.5073 and the Americans at 166.0351.
“It was crucial for us to start off strong and use all the energy from the crowd,” said team captain Marie-Lou Morin. “Swimming on such a big stage in front of our family, our friends and our amazing fans, we know it’s a once in a lifetime thing. We wanted to make the best of it today and we did!”
The Canadian swimmers were Gabriella Brisson of Calgary (AB), Annabelle Frappier of Saint-Hyacinthe (QC), Claudia Holzner of Calgary (AB), Lisa Mikelberg of Montral (QC), Marie-Lou Morin of Westmount (QC), Samantha Nealon of Morriston (ON), Jacqueline Simoneau and Karine Thomas.
The team will assemble tonight at Canada House for a medal celebration with family and friends, but the celebration will be short-lived as they will be leaving tomorrow for a training camp in Slovakia in preparation for the World Championships coming up in Kazan, Russia, in 2 weeks.
About Synchro Canada
Synchro Canada is an organization that fosters the pursuit of excellence while developing athletes, citizens, and ambassadors of the sport of synchronized swimming at all levels. From its 1924 beginnings in Montréal, synchronized swimming has been actively pursued by more than 70 countries worldwide. Canada proudly ranks among the best of these nations.
Synchro Canada would like to thank its sponsors:
Program partners: Sport Canada, Own The Podium, the Institut national du sport du Québec
Official Aquatic Supplier: Speedo Canada
Official Suncare: Shiseido Canada
Official make up: MAKE UP FOR EVER
Official suppliers: AdUp, National Car Rental
Official hotel: Hilton Hotels Canada
For further information, visit Synchro Canada’s Website at www.synchro.ca or follow Synchro Canada on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
SOURCE: SYNCHRO CANADA