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Photo courtesy of Canada Artistic Swimming.

The Canadian artistic swimming team (formerly “synchronized swimming”) has been hard at work in Montreal, preparing for the summer competitions. This year is especially important, as it is the last chance to try routines on the world stage before the Olympics in 2020.

The athletes just went through a grueling week where they constructed two entirely new routines in just seven days. Under the direction of Senior National Head Coach Gábor Szauder, who just joined the organization in November, the new routines focus on the ‘wow’ factor, with the goal being to make the world sit up and take notice of the Canadians. The routines are set to be performed at this year’s FINA Artistic Swimming World Series events and the FINA World Aquatics Championships.

Leading the creation of the team routines, is Anastasia Ermakova, Russia’s four-time Olympic gold medalist. Her free-routine theme revolves around the spectrum of time and illustrates how our lives progress through a continuum of movements, as described on Canada Artistic Swimming’s website. Working with the Canadians for the first time, Ermakova sought to create routines with dynamic movements and explosive bursts that show the team’s height and speed. She worked to achieve the highest difficulty standards possible in the pool.

“These are beautiful, strong athletes, and as soon as they appear, I want everybody to start talking about the Canadian team, and the level that they are at,” she told Canada Artistic Swimming.

“It’s been an amazing experience working with Anastasia these past two weeks,” stated team veteran Claudia Holzner, online on the Canada Artistic Swimming website. “Her creative process is something that we have never seen before. Collaborating with her on a daily basis has been an amazing opportunity and Canada is fortunate to have such a brilliant mind working with us! In just 10 days with her, we created two stunning routines that we are extremely excited to share with the world over the next year.”

World-renowned Canadian choreographer Denise Sauvé has also been working with the Canadian duet technical and free routines. Sauvé brings her extensive acrobatic experience from working with Cirque du Soleil.

Jacqueline Simoneau and Halle Pratt, Canada’s two soloist performers, have also been refining their routines for the upcoming year. Simoneau teamed up with Johana Vasquez. The pair first worked together when Simoneau was ten years old. Pratt is working with choreographer Jenn Tragale, Head Coach of the Calgary Aquabelles. The two have worked together since 2011.

The team will compete for the first time this year at the Canada Games in Red Deer Feb. 17-21.

You can help support these amazing athletes on their way to international success! The team is collecting funds online through their Make a Champion fundraising initiative. Click here to contribute!

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