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Eight artistic swimmers look to make a splash in Tokyo this summer

Canada will be sending an experienced squad of artistic swimmers to Tokyo 2020 where they will compete in duet and team competitions for the first time since London 2012.

The spots were locked up at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru where Canada won gold in both events. Seven of the swimmers who contributed to the team gold medal have been named to the Olympic team.

Leading the way is Jacqueline Simoneau, the sole returning Olympian on Team Canada’s roster.

She made her Olympic debut at Rio 2016, where she teamed up with Karine Thomas for a seventh-place finish in the duet. Canada did not qualify in the team event for the last Olympic Games.

Simoneau is a four-time gold medallist at the Pan American Games, standing atop the podium in the duet and team events at Lima 2019 and Toronto 2015. As has been the case since 2017, Simoneau’s partner in the duet will be Claudia Holzner.

Jacqueline Simoneau, right, and Claudia Holzner, of Canada, celebrates after receiving their gold medals in the artistic swimming duet free routine finals at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, Wednesday, July 31, 2019.
Jacqueline Simoneau, right, and Claudia Holzner, left, of Canada celebrate after receiving their gold medals in the artistic swimming duet event at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, Wednesday, July 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

Holzner was also a member of the gold medal-winning teams at the 2015 and 2019 Pan Am Games. Though she is making her Olympic debut this summer, Holzner is no stranger to international competition having represented Canada at four FINA World Championships, competing in the duet and team events in 2017 and 2019.

In mid-April, Simoneau and Holzner had a golden return to competition, winning the technical and free duet events at the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest – their first live event in more than a year. They expect to compete before the Games at the FINA World Series Super Final in Barcelona in mid-June.

“After nine years with the senior national team, missing the Rio Olympics by so little, followed by a global pandemic, I am so proud to say that I am going to be representing Canada at my first Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer,” said Holzner. “As a veteran on the team, I have watched my teammates grow and flourish into the incredible athletes they’ve become. I can’t wait to see what we will show together in the pool in Tokyo!”

Joining Simoneau and Holzner in the water for the team event will be Emily Armstrong, Rosalie Boissonneault, Andrée-Anne Côté, Camille Fiola-Dion, Audrey Joly and Halle Pratt. Kenzie Priddell will be the travelling alternate.

Boissonneault is the newcomer, having joined the senior national team in 2020 and is set to make her Olympic debut at just 18 years old, while the rest were all part of the 2019 Pan Am Games team.

Armstrong, Côté, Fiola-Dion, Joly, and Pratt, as well as Holzner and Simoneau, were all members of the Canadian team that won bronze in the technical and free events at the 2019 World Series Super Final as Canada finished first in the final overall ranking of the World Series.

artistic swimmers performing in the water
Canada competes in the artistic swimming team event at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games on July 31, 2019. Photo by Christopher Morris/COC

“It’s always an honour to represent Canada on the world stage. It’s incredibly special this time around not only because we’re heading towards a unique Olympic Games, but also because we will be sharing this experience together as a team,” said Simoneau. “We have a great mix of athletes on this squad, from our latest addition Rosalie Boissonneault to many who have been on the team for multiple years.”  

Since artistic swimming (formerly known as synchronized swimming) was added to the Olympic program at Los Angeles 1984, Canada has won eight medals, including three gold, four silver and one bronze. Canada’s most recent medal came at Sydney 2000 where they won bronze in the team event.

Artistic swimming will take place at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in the second week of the Games. The three phases of the duet event will be held August 2-4 with the two team routines following on August 6-7.

Team Canada Artistic Swimming Athletes at Tokyo 2020:

Emily Armstrong (Toronto, ON) 
Rosalie Boissonneault (Drummondville, QC)
Andrée-Anne Côté (St-Georges, QC)
Camille Fiola-Dion (Rimouski, QC)
Claudia Holzner (Calgary, AB)
Audrey Joly (St-Eustache, QC)
Halle Pratt (Calgary, AB)
Jacqueline Simoneau (Saint-Laurent, QC)