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Synchro Canada – RIO DE JANEIRO — Canada finished in 4th position – one place short of its goal – in the synchronized swimming Olympic qualification tournament held in Brazil this weekend and barely missed the qualification for the 2016 Olympics which was awarded to the top-3 finishing countries.

Favourites Ukraine and Japan won gold and silver respectively, earning the first two available tickets to Rio 2016.

Despite a powerful performance of its new “Fire and Ice” free routine that captivated the audience at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre, Canada was unable to catch up to Italy which was 0.5 points ahead after yesterday’s technical program.  The Italians managed to keep its lead in today’s free team event by barely edging Canada to capture the bronze medal and, with it, the last remaining Olympic spot.  

In the end, 0.7 points was the agonizing difference between the two countries.

“4th position is always the hardest to deal with, especially when the margin is so small,” said team captain Marie-Lou Morin.  “But I’m so incredibly proud of this team who fought so hard to realize our dream.  I will never forget the past few months with this incredible group of teammates and friends.”

Team members were Janelle Ball, Gabriella Brisson, Annabelle Frappier, Claudia Holzner, Rebecca Maule, Marie-Lou Morin, Samantha Nealon and Jacqueline Simoneau.

“First, I want to recognize these incredible high performance athletes,” declared Head Coach Meng Chen.  “They truly came together as an amazing unit here in Rio and delivered two performances that they can be extremely proud of.  Not just in the water this week but also for the months of intense preparation and development that got them here. They have been super-stars here in Rio this week and Canada should be extremely proud.”

“Second, I want to thank the Canadian synchro community for their absolutely fantastic support – before, during and after this event, the emails, social media posts and all the positive energy has made such a difference to our journey and the whole team really appreciated the warm enthusiasm.”

Despite the disappointment, Canada managed to leave its mark in Rio having impressed the synchro world by its remarkable improvement of the last 6 months.  Ranking ahead of Spain for the first time in more than 10 years, Canada’s free routine was awarded a score of just under 92 from the judges, almost 2 full points over last summer’s World Championships mark.

“We have to examine this result in the right context,” stated Synchro Canada’s CEO, Jackie Buckingham.  “We have improved tremendously over a very short period of time and we served notice to the rest of the world this week that Canadian synchronized swimming has a very bright future. As the Pan Am Games gold medalists and the clear leader in synchronized swimming in the Americas, we believe we must work with FINA to ensure that future Olympic tournaments feature the best teams in the world.  Already, there have been discussions of changing the rules for the next Games in a way that would retain continental representation but also make sure that a greater number of world class teams could reach the Olympic Games.”

“In addition, Synchro Canada is committed to providing leadership to FINA to continue to develop this incredibly physical sport to its next level. Specifically, we will assist with the design and implementation of a technology based judging system that introduces specific measurement to the sport – with a basis in scientific performance analysis.”

Canada will be represented in synchronized swimming at the Olympics in the duet event for which Jacqueline Simoneau and Karine Thomas qualified last summer at the Toronto Pan Am Games.

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About Synchro Canada
Synchro Canada is an organization that fosters the pursuit of excellence while developing athletes, citizens, and ambassadors of the sport of synchronized swimming at all levels. From its 1924 beginnings in Montréal, synchronized swimming has been actively pursued by more than 70 countries worldwide. Canada proudly ranks among the best of these nations.

Synchro Canada would like to thank its sponsors: 

Program partners: Sport Canada, Own The Podium, the Institut national du sport du Québec
Official Aquatic Supplier: Speedo Canada
Official Skincare and Suncare: Shiseido Canada
Official suppliers: AdUp, National Car Rental
Official hotel: Hilton Hotels Canada

For further information, visit Synchro Canada’s Website at www.synchro.ca or follow Synchro Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.

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Contact
Stéphane Côté
Communications Manager
(418) 420-2125
stephane@synchro.ca