This article was originally published on the Synchro Canada website.
On Thursday, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Synchro Canada announced the athletes nominated to represent Team Canada at the TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games. The final roster was determined following a selection procedure that took place at Synchro Canada's Centre of Excellence, its centralized training facility at Olympic Stadium in Montreal.
The duet competitions (technical and free) and team competitions (technical and free) in synchronized swimming are scheduled for July 9-11 at the CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Aquatics Centre. Canada is the reigning Pan Am Games champion in both the duet and team events, having captured gold at Guadalajara 2011.
The Canadian pair of Jacqueline Simoneau (Saint-Laurent, QC) and Karine Thomas (Gatineau, QC) will look to earn a berth for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by winning gold in the duet event. The talented combination is intriguing as it features Canada's youngest team member, 18-year-old Simoneau, and Thomas, the only returning swimmer from the 2011 Pan Am Games and 2012 Olympic Games.
In the team competition, Canada will look to repeat as Pan Am champions by performing the technical and free routines that earned them high praise from the judges as they won gold at the beginning of the month at the Canadian Open Championships.
Synchronized swimming has been a part of the Pan American Games since the Games' second edition in 1955 and Canada has always been successful at the event, having won a total of 33 medals, including 7 gold.
Canada will field the largest team in its Pan American Games history with more than 700 athletes expected to be named to the Team at the Games in Toronto. With TORONTO 2015 providing a "home Games" experience, as well as a number of qualification opportunities for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, these Games will offer a tremendous experience for Canada's high performance athletes.
The synchronized swimming team members which will represent Canada at the TORONTO 2015 Games are:
Prior to being named to the final Canadian Pan American Team, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee's Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Federations towards the end of June 2015.
"Historically, our synchro athletes have performed very well on the Pan Am stage and this new team's recent success on the competition circuit proves that they have what it takes to continue this trend. Congratulations to all the athletes who made it onto the team, TORONTO 2015 is yours for the taking!"
Marcel Aubut, President, Canadian Olympic Committee
"Congratulations to the athletes that have been nominated today. As a former synchronized swimmer, I know how much dedication and hard work it takes to succeed in this sport. I am confident that these athletes have given their all to be named to Canada's team and will make us all proud this summer at the Pan Am Games. Good luck!"
Élise Marcotte, TORONTO 2015 Team Canada Assistant Chef de Mission
"This will be the first Pan Am Games for most of our athletes and a very exciting experience. It will be a unique opportunity for them to perform at their best in front of their family, friends and fans. The competition will also be a perfect simulation for the 2015 World Championships which will take place 10 days later in Kazan, Russia."
Meng Chen, Head Coach, Canadian Synchronized Swimming National Team
"Jacqueline and I are both very excited to compete at this summer's Pan Am Games in Toronto in front of friends, family, and a hometown crowd. Building upon our success at the Canadian Open held at the same facility earlier this year, we look forward to presenting our new routines, to defending Canada's gold medal performances from the previous Pan Am Games, and most excitingly, to qualifying a berth in the duet event for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Jackie and I are a strong and dynamic team, and we are eager to prove ourselves amongst the best in the world in the lead-up to this summer's FINA World Championships and beyond."
Karine Thomas, Team and duet member, London 2012 Olympian, 2011 Pan Am Games gold medallist
"Canada's synchronized swimmers have a well-earned reputation for their drive, athleticism and innovation. Congratulations to the athletes named today to represent Canada in synchronized swimming at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games. All Canadians look forward to seeing you compete this summer during the Year of Sport in Canada."
The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport)