Veteran synchronized swimmers Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon of Riviere-du-Loup, Que., and Elise Marcotte of L’Ancienne-Lorette, Que., will lead the team of a dozen young women training in Montreal for the 2012 London Olympics.
Boudreau-Gagnon and Marcotte captured the gold medal in duet and led the way to a gold medal in the team event at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, last month. Members of the Pan Am team who are part of the Olympic training squad are Boudreau-Gagnon, Marcotte, Jo-Annie Fortin of Montreal, Chloe Isaac of Brossard, Que., Stephanie LeClair of Gatineau, Que., Tracy Little of Pointe-Claire, Que., Karine Thomas of Gatineau, Que., and Valerie Welsh of Saint-Nicholas, Que. Also in the Olympic training group are Genevieve Belanger of Laval, Que., Gabrielle Cardinal of Saint-Lambert, Que., Stephanie Durocher of Repentigny, Que., and Erin Willson of Toronto. Julie Sauvé, Meng Chen and Anastassia Goutseva are the national synchronized swimming coaching staff members.
“The athletes on the team are used to training together for long periods and have also experienced major events over the past few years. There is already chemistry between these athletes,” said coach Sauvé.
“The nomination of this specific training group as well as qualifying for London 2012 at the 2011 Pan American Games nine months from the start of the Olympics will allow to focus solely on creating spectacular routines. We believe this advantage, that we didn’t have in 2008, will allow us to attain that difficult goal of stepping on the Olympic podium in 2012.”
The final line-up will be trimmed to nine swimmers a few weeks before the July 27-Aug 12 Games for submission to the Canadian Olympic Committee. The Olympic synchronized swimming competition at London’s Aquatic Centre takes place Aug. 5-10.
The Canadian team will be reduced to nine members a few weeks before the Olympic Games as outlined in the International Olympic Committee’s regulations.
Athletes eligible for the Games were selected following a one-day team trial which was held on October 28 at Synchro Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Montreal. Athletes at the selection camp were evaluated by two Canadian international judges accredited by the governing body FINA who submitted their recommendations to selection committee members.
Boudreau-Gagnon and former partner Isabelle Rampling of Burlington, Ont., were sixth in duet at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. The synchro team was sixth as well. Boudreau-Gagnon is a three-time world championship bronze medalist, including the duet bronze with Marcotte at Shanghai in 2011.