Courageous Canadians eighth in free duet at FINA World Championships


Louis Daignault (ISN)

July 26, 2013, BARCELONA (ISN) – Emilia Kopcik of Surrey, B.C., and Stephanie Leclair of Gatineau, Que., completed a gutsy performance on Thursday placing eighth in the free duet final in synchronized swimming at the FINA World Aquatic Championships.

Svetlana Kolesnichenko and Svetlana Romashina of Russia won the gold medal with 97.680 points, Tingting Jiang and Wenwen Jiang of China were second at 95.350 and Ona Carbonell and Margalida Crespi Jaume of Spain third at 94.990.

Russia has won all five synchro gold medals so far.

Kopcik broke her foot earlier this week just days after straining her abdominal muscles while Leclair continues to battle a chronic hip injury. Still the pair, who have been together for only a month, soldiered on against a strong field and finished at 87.370.

”Yes we are disappointed with the result,” said Leclair. ”But we felt our performance was better than the prelims even though that wasn’t reflective in the results. We improved our synchronization and had a better connection with the judges.”

Kopcik didn’t hold back.

”I didn’t want anything to take away from the performance,” said Kopcik, who also competes in the team events. ”We’ve both competed with injuries before and in the water you are so preoccupied with your routine that you don’t feel anything. We wanted to compete because we worked so hard to get here and we had the full support of the coaches.”

Competition continues Friday with the team free final. Canada is standing fifth after Tuesday’s prelims.