McGill synchronized swimming hosts Nationals send-off

On Feb. 13, the McGill varsity synchronized swimming team hosted their annual McGill Synchro Water Show, showcasing the team’s routines before they headed off to perform at the CUSSL National Championships at Brock University from Feb. 16 to 18. In addition to providing a platform for the team’s solo, duet, and team performances, the show also featured performances from Dollard Synchro, a synchronized swimming club in Dollard des Ormeaux, Quebec.

McGill Head Coach Lindsay Duncan explained that although the swimmers usually perform their routines after Nationals—once the pressure is off—they decided to hold the show earlier this year to raise more awareness for the team.

“This was meant to be a really good opportunity for the girls to practice in front of an audience with just about as much warm-up as they would at the competition, and to […] swim in a situation where it matters,” Duncan said. “We are challenged because [McGill’s] pool has a shallow end and so we can’t host big competitions here [….] So, having a water show at this time of year is a really good opportunity to show our community because we never do have the opportunity to be on campus at the peak of the season.”

The event featured solo performances by second-year Gabrielle Cadotte, second-year Melissa Freed, fifth-year Stacy Lee, and third-year Flordespina Dodds.

For Lee, the event served as an opportunity to get a bit more practice with new routines before performing them at Nationals.

“We usually start [preparing for our solos] at the beginning of the season in September and practice once a week,” Lee said. “[But] I only started working on [my routine] about four weeks ago.”

Duet performances featured third-year McGill Synchro pair Baylie Daghofer-Hawes with Dodds, and fourth-year pair Mathilde Warren with Manon Chiorri—who had spent only three weeks practicing their routine. The Dollard Synchro Masters also participated.

The first team to perform was the expert-level Red team, who have been training individually since September, but only together since January. Then came the novice team, who placed second at the CUSSL Eastern Canadian Meet on Feb. 3 and 4, an impressive feat considering that half of their team had little to no experience in synchronized swimming before this season. At the end of the night, the expert-level Jailbreakers team performed—with six of the eight girls on the team returning from previous years.

For second-year Red team swimmer Anita Paparelli, the Water Show also served as a valuable final practice before heading off to Nationals.

“Every team worked hard these two last weeks after Easterns,” Paparelli said. “[Red Team] sort of learned our weaknesses from the last competition, with the stress, the rush, the pressure and everything and so we tried to really focus on these the last few practices [….] I can’t wait to see all the incredible routines.”


Moment of the Show
McGill’s expert Jailbreakers team perfectly executed two boosts, one of which included a full backward flip, and the other a two-person front dive.

“[The show] was good to practice in front of a crowd and get rid of some nerves and a fun way to get excited for Nationals.” – Second-year Baylie Daghofer-Hawes.

Stat Corner
Experienced synchronized swimmers can swim underwater for 50 metres—the length of an Olympic-sized swimming pool—without coming up for air.

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