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'(Posted 5:30 p.m., May 26)
Gloucester Synchro captures club title at provincial tier championships
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Members of Gloucester Synchro's Tier 6 Open team pose for a picture with the championship trophy after winning the gold medal at the Ontario Tier Championships on Sunday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The Gloucester Synchro Club capitalized on several strong team and individual performances on the weekend to capture their first Ontario Tier synchronized swimming aggregate championship since 2003.

Gold medal showings by the club's Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 6 teams, along with a trio of gold and silver medals in the solo championship and figure events, combined to give Gloucester Synchro the overall club championship.

The Tier 2 squad kick-started the charge to the aggregate title on Sunday with a second place performance in the championship round.

The team consists of Leena Barisa, Sophie Chartrand, Chloe Cook, Margaux McCunn, Amy Parker, Melanie Robichaud, Mikhaela Shattler and Rachel Walthert, along with co-coaches Genna McBain and Sarah Simoneau.

Gloucester Syncrho's Tier 3 squad followed up on their teammates' success with the club's first gold medal of the day in an incredibly deep field of 20 teams, and they did so after having to completely change their program following the departure of a team member in March.

"One of the girls had to leave after regionals for personal reasons so we had to change every single pattern and adjust the highlights," said Tier 3 co-coach Caroline Demers.

"The girls have been incredibly resilient. They're very determined and very motivated. They never gave up and they never complained. They just wanted to know what they could do better," added Demers' coaching partner Meghan Weber.

The Tier 3 team consists of Kristina Anagnosti, Kaitlyn Hoey, Alexa Schryer, Brenna Winter, Allison Courtney, Mariel Kaine and Amy Wilcox.

Following the Tier 3 gold medal swim, the Tier 4 team of Emily Atwood, Gabrielle Brosseau, Madeline Kein, Melissa Marchand, Sophia Brandt, Casey Gervais, Leanne Lovsin and Adrianna Sorgo placed third among 12 other teams to pick up a bronze medal and set the stage for the club's two Tier 6 squads who swam in the final event of the meet.

Both Tier 6 teams were using the provincial championships as tune-up for the Canadian Espoir Championships which will take place in Toronto in two weeks.

On the face of their gold medal swim on Sunday, the Tier 6 Open team is perfectly primed for the national championships, although their coach Tara Hawkins says there is still room for improvement.

"(The girls) had a really good swim. The energy level was great. The performance was great, but our synchronicity was a little bit off," said Hawkins following the swim.

This is the first year that Luba Chabursky, Marlene Haines, Genevieve Dunn, Emma Hutton, Megan Smallwood, Emma Yoxon, Sara Ogilvie, Katie Walker-Byron and Emilie Young have swum together as a team. Some of the girls have been with Gloucester Synchro for several years, while a couple of the girls come from other clubs.

While the group will be in tough at the Espoir Championships, Hawkins says they have an outside shot at a medal.

"It's going to be a tough competition. There are going to be 24 other teams there, but if we have a really good swim we'll have a good chance of doing well," says Hawkins.

Two members of the Tier 6 Open team picked up medals in the solo part of the competition earlier in the weekend, starting with Megan Smallwood who won a gold medal in the Tier 6 figures event on Friday.

Smallwood has been with Gloucester Synchro for the past eight years. This is the first year that she has competed in figures.

"I was pretty consistent all the way through, so I sort of knew I was going to do well," said Smallwood, 17, who didn't know how well she had done until the final marks were announced. "It was very exciting."

Smallwood's teammate Luba Charbursky, who's also 17, bounced back from a third place performance in the figures portion of the solo event on Saturday to score the top mark in the free routine which was good enough to earn her the silver medal. Like Smallwood, it was her first time competing in a solo event at provincials.

"I felt pretty good. I just told myself to push hard and don't stop 'till the end," said Charbusky.

Although the Open team managed to capture gold in the Tier 6 event, it was the Tier 6 15-and under team made up of Perrin Bryson, Stephanie Madeira, Celeste Chevrier, Marie-Eve Sabourin, Jilian Wakarchuk, Amelie Proulx, Madeline Walker-Byron and Pamela Schroeder, that put the Gloucester Synchro club over the top in the chase for the aggregate title with a silver medal performance in their championship routine.

In other results, Emma Yoxon and Emma Hutton won individual gold medals in the Tier 7 solo and figures events; Sophie Chartrand came second in the Tier 2 13-and-over figures standings; and Leanne Lovsin and Melissa Marchand won a silver medal in the Tier 4 duet event.

Last, but not least, the Tier 1 team made up of Luella Antonin, Rhianon Davies, Alyx Denison, Sarah Healy, Kendra Hoey, Katie Horner and Kiera Hughes hasd their best swim of the season in finishing fifth.

'(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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