Canada sixth in team free prelims, seventh in duet free prelims at FINA World Championships


Louis Daignault (ISN)

July 23, 2013, BARCELONA (ISN) – Canada is in sixth place after the team free preliminaries on Tuesday in synchronized swimming at the FINA World Championships.

Russia leads with 97.390 points, Spain is second at 94.100 and Ukraine third at 93.100. Canada totalled 88.180 to stand sixth heading into Friday’s final.

The Canadian swimmers were Sandy Gill of Coquitlam, B.C., Chloe Isaac of Brossard, Que., Emilia Kopcik of Surrey, B.C., Lisa Mikelberg of Montreal, Marie-Lou Morin of Westmount, Que., Jacqueline Simoneau of Montreal and Stéphanie Leclair and Karine Thomas, both of Gatineau, Que.

Today, we had a bad swim because I know this team can do way much better,” said Canada’s head coach Meng Chen. “They showed a stronger and more consistent swim during the training camp. I’m expecting this team to regroup and to have their best swim during the final, as they showed during the training camp.”

Team captain Leclair agreed.

“There were some good elements in the routine,” said Leclair. “There is still however a lot of work to do with the synchronization.” Canada interpreted a new routine called Snakes and Ladders.

In the duet free preliminaries, Svetlana Kolesnichenko and Svetlana Romashina of Russia are first with 97.230 points, Tingting Jiang and Wenwen Jiang of China second at 95.080 and Ona Carbonell Ballestero and Margalida Crespi Jaume of Spain are third at 94.270.

Kopcik and Stephanie, who joined forces only a month ago, scored 88.620 for seventh. The final is Thursday.

“It was certainly a challenge for us to put this together and compete at the worlds,” said Kopcik. “But we wouldn’t have done it if we weren’t confident. We were really happy with the performance and thrilled to swim for Canada in duet.”

Kopcik suffered a broken foot and had also been battling a pulled abdominal muscle. Leclair for her part has been hampered with a hip injury.

“We had to modify our training because of the injuries,” said Leclair. “But we were very confident and not apprehensive about competing.”

Chen admired the duet’s determination

“I’m pleased with the duet considering the short time of preparation and injuries, but there is a lot of room for improvement,” she said. Despite their injuries, the athletes really wanted to compete and challenge their physical injuries who are not a threat for their career. As a coach, I admire their attitude and I have no regret of this athletic decision made by the coaches group with the athletes. They showed the personality, determination and physical capacities of this team. This is a great lesson for the rest of the team who learned from this challenge toward the 2016 Olympic Games.”

On Wednesday’s schedule is the solo free final. Chloe Isaac of Brossard, Que., is sixth after Monday’s preliminaries.