U of O competitive club heads to Calgary for national meet
Katherine DeClerq | Fulcrum Staff
SWIMMING, GYMNASTICS, AND weightlifting combine to create the challenging sport 26 University of Ottawa students compete in throughout the year. This sport is synchronized swimming, and true athletes argue it takes more than just the ability to twirl under water.
“Our routine is really challenging,” said U of O synchronized swimmer Elizabeth Lovell. “I would say the hardest that I’ve ever done, but it’s easier to push yourself when you know that eight other great swimmers and friends are beside you and working just as hard as you.”
The club is divided into two competitive teams—Ottawa Garnet and Ottawa Grey—as well as a novice group and one competitive soloist, U of O student Emma Yoxon. Yoxon placed third at the eastern provincials Jan. 13–15.
Led by University of Ottawa students Sabrina Lekadir and Kelsey van Dyke, the synchronized swimming team worked their way to the eastern provincial meet at the University of Guelph, where the Ottawa Garnet placed third, Ottawa Grey fifth, and the novice group 14th overall.
With only two weeks left before the synchronized swimming club heads out to the University of Calgary for the national meet, the squad will be training hard to maintain their high standings.
“We hope to bring home some even better results after our national meet,” said Lekadir in an email to the Fulcrum. “I know that when we all work together, we accomplish great things and I can’t wait to go to nationals!”
The swimmers practise three times a week in order to increase their endurance, strength, flexibility, and timing. The sport requires the ability to hold one’s breath for extended periods of time, while performing complex routines both above and below the water.
Because synchronized swimming is, in essence, a performance, the swimmers must match their expressions with the tone of the music and the routine. The athletes must do all of this while ensuring they do not touch the bottom of the pool—if they do, the team is immediately disqualified.
Most importantly, all the swimmers must trust their fellow teammates for the routine to flow properly. According to Ottawa Grey swimmer Danica Desjardins, a first-year student who has been involved in synchronized swimming for the past eight years, teamwork is crucial to success in the sport.
“[Success is found through the] special bond you have with your teammates thanks to the common goal amongst everyone, as well as the significant amount of time you spend with them,” she said. “If you lack the bond between teammates, it shows in your routine.”
Lovell agreed, and explained that without that “special bond” the team’s performance would suffer.
“Teamwork is so important in synchronized swimming, not just because we all need to be swimming on count, but because the best routines are choreographed and perfected by the team that works together.”
The Gee-Gees synchronized swimming club is putting on their annual end-of-season Watershow, which consists of all of the teams’ competitive routines plus custom routine choreography created specifically for the event. The date for the Watershow will be announced early April.