Team BC’s synchronized swimmers finish fourth in a series of competitions at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George.
Friday began with the duet event and the two teams of Sarah Jones (Victoria) and Katrina Hohensee (Kamloops) and Stefanie Dickinson (North Vancouver) and Katie Stirrat (Vancouver), both finished fourth in their respective flights.
The eight-person team event took place later in the day and Team BC finished fourth.
The team’s two soloists – Luiza Vasylyeva (Victoria) and Katrina Hohensee (Kamloops), competed on Saturday.
The nine members of Team BC’s synchronized swimmers are from three different clubs in three different cities in the province. In a sport that requires absolute precision and harmonization, living in different cities presents a challenge to Team BC.
The team was selected nine months ago and centralized in Victoria for a few training camps in last summer. Since then, they’ve spent every other weekend in Victoria for a series of intense two-day training sessions.
“The challenge is that we only have two days together so the first day is like a warm up day we have to remember the routine and the counts, then the next day we are trying to cram everything in,” said Emma Choo (Victoria). “Then two weeks go by and we have to do it all over again – it can make it hard to keep the momentum moving forward.”
Seray Sefayi (Vancouver) thinks the team uses that pressure to its advantage.
“Our team comes together very well, we come together fast and work efficiently,” she said. “It’s a challenge but we’ve made it work.”
Centralizing to train isn’t the most difficult thing about synchronized swimming. The high performance athletes on Team BC have designed an eight-person routine that lasts less than five minutes – 4:12 to be precise – and during that time they have to keep complete focus and have incredible command over every muscle in their body. And then they have to hold their breath.
“It’s a lot harder than it looks,” said Stirrat. “By the end of the routine you can’t feel your arms or your legs. It’s even hard to swim across the pool because your muscles give up on you from the exertion. It’s a good tired though because you feel like you did your absolute best and swam as hard as you could.”
The team performed at the US Open in Las Vegas in preparation for the Canada Winter Games, and while that competition was fun, Lisa Koyama-Wong (Vancouver) said it doesn’t compare to the Prince George Games.
“A multisport Games is way more exciting,” she said. “You get to meet a lot of people from different sports and there is so much to do, it’s a totally different experience.