|Canada wins gold in team combination event at German Open synchronized swimming meet|
BONN, Germany – Canada won the gold medal in the team free combination final on Saturday at the German Open synchronized swimming competition.
Canada earned almost identical scores for technical merit and artistic impression to finish with 92.662 points. The Canadian swimmers were Camille Bowness, Audrey Houle, Marie-Lou Morin, Catherine Powell and Lisa Mikelberg, all of Montreal, Cassidy Beaver-Nicol of Westwold, B.C., Geneviève Bélanger of Laval, Que., Claire Friesen of Calgary, Sandy Gill of Coquitlam, B.C., and Marie Rondeau of Quebec City.
"It went very well and we had a lot of fun," said Beaver-Nicol, the combo team’s captain. "The main challenges for us were our patterns and keeping our synchronization. Our energy level was high and we knew that because the crowd was really enjoying our routine."
Greece was second at 88.475 and Britain third at 87.075.
In the combo event, each team fields 10 swimmers and solos, duets and trios are allowed within the routine. The theme for Canada’s program on Saturday was street dancing.
"It’s an event that allows you get more creative," said Beaver-Nicol. "It’s a straight final as well so it’s fun to go out and have your all out swim right away and even more awesome when you do it great like we did today."
In the team free competition, Canada has a strong lead after the technical and preliminary free routines with 179.640 points. The Canadians swimmers for the technical routine were Beaver-Nicol, Bélanger, Bowness, Friesen, Gill, Houle, Morin and Anne-Marie Vézina of l’Ancienne-Lorette, Que.
"We had a very solid technical routine," said Morin. "It was the first time we performed it at the international level. They also introduced a new scoring system with each element scored individually instead of overall. That was an advantage for us."
In the water for Canada for the preliminary free routine were the same eight as the technical except Vézina was replaced by Powell. The theme for the free routine was Chinese Astrology, the same number that was used at the 2008 Olympics and 2009 world championships.
"We felt like we were in mid-season form," said Houle. "But I’m sure once we look at the video there will be some elements to correct for the final. This is the last time we will perform this program and we’d like to finish it off successfully. We know we can get some higher scores tomorrow (Sunday)."
Greece stands second at 174.590 and France is third at 174.382.
In the solo free routine preliminaries, Canadian junior Emilia Kopcik of Surrey, B.C., posted the third best score at 88.900. Yumi Adachi of Japan topped the field at 90.950 and Jenna Randall of Britain followed at 89.162.My main goal here was to gain some valuable experience,’’ said Kopcik, 17. "My swim was consistent and that’s what stood out for me. I was the only junior here so competing against some of the best in the world is really going to help me this season."
Because Kopcik is junior-aged she won’t compete in the solo final. Prior to the free routine preliminaries, the solo technical routine was held. There is no technical routine in solo for junior swimmers.
Competition ends Sunday with the team final.