Big dedication in a big family environment
Photo credit: Sarah Nolette
The University of Ottawa’s synchronized swimming teams are one big family.
The competitive club has four teams, each offering something different. There’s the novice team for anyone who just wants to dip their feet in the water, and three competitive teams for different skill levels.
Geneviève Dunn is the Gee-Gees synchro club coordinator. She organizes everything between the club and the league, and takes care of all the team’s needs. Dunn has been involved with synchro since she was six. She loves the sport because it’s as competitive as it is beautiful.
“It’s the creative aspect on top of a physical sport,” says Dunn. “It’s a good way for people to get involved, and it’s a good way to relieve some stress.”
This year, the synchro team has only one coach, Katie Simanzik. She’s been involved in the sport for 18 years. Simanzik floats between the four teams, helping them with choreography and making sure the group is doing the right drills.
“Coaching the Gee-Gees team is really rewarding,” says Simanzik. “They are really dedicated to it, and you see the results.
One of our teams placed at nationals last year, and it’s the best this club has ever done.”
She says the novice team is just as rewarding to coach as the competitive ones.
“It’s a neat opportunity to see people excel really quickly.These girls are brand new, and it’s a lot of fun,” says Simanzik. “They train twice a week, learn the fundamentals, but do it well in a team environment.”
It’s no secret that synchronized swimming relies heavily on teamwork. The Gee-Gees thrive in their big family environment.
“Everyone who is there, chooses to be there,” says Dunn. “We all really work well together. We have four teams, but it feels like we have one team. We all help each other out.”