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Monday, Aug. 20, 2018
Club and swimmer benefit from appearance at nationals
by Randy Pascal

There is a circular synergy that is building with the Sudbury Synchro Swim Club.

The time and effort that has been invested by a very dedicated coaching core has paid dividends, as club swimmers continue to soar to new heights. In return, as the young athletes make a name on the provincial and national level, the coaches are able to reap the benefit that comes with exposure to a whole new standard of competition.

Both elements were in play, this summer, as 12 year old Amy Lacelle cracked the Team Ontario roster, competing recently as part of the provincial team at the 2017 Synchro Youth Natation Challenge in Edmonton.

"It was a very different feel, because I've never had to go to another province before," noted Lacelle. "I've never competed against Quebec before." Surviving three rounds of tryouts, all of which are hosted in the GTA, battling an overwhelming number of Team Ontario candidates competing right in their own backyard, Lacelle fought her way through to the final stage - and rewarded herself by taking it all in.

"I was very aware of the high performance athletes," she said. "I've never swam with them, I don't know how they swim. There were girls that I had never seen, and some girls that my mom had told me about."

To suggest that she fit right in might be an understatement. Performing her figures in a field that included no less than 34 girls in the Age 11-12 division, Lacelle placed 10th with a score of 63.2559, missing out on a top eight ranking by less than a tenth of a point.

This, despite the fact that there she was constantly dealing with an environment that is at least somewhat foreign to the comfort she enjoys at the Laurentian Gold Pool. "There was way different choreography and the figures routine that I swam was 13-15 FINA, which is a national routine," Lacelle explained.

"There's different positions that I had never learned. The language is different, the national coach uses different words than what I am used to in Sudbury." Despite the challenges, Lacelle excelled. "With figures, I did my figures as best that I could, but they told me ways that I could score even higher, or fix my sculling or something."

Loaded with additional knowledge and confidence, the local youngster is anxious to share with the Sudbury teammates which whom she has enjoyed the bulk of her success. "I learned how to be sharp in everything and not sloppy, which I was last year," she said.

"I definitely feel that last year, there were some parts of our routine that were never sharp. I want to pass that along to my teammates, so that we can get better and better and better."

This drive for excellence comes as no surprise at all to club head coach, Lindsay Wandziak. "It's just her overall love of the sport that has made her want to go above and beyond," she said. "If she's asked to do something five times, she does it ten times at home. She is always focusing on what she can do better, what she can work on."

There is an element of self-assessment, an ability to look for improvement through the work of those around her, that is quite impressive for someone of Lacelle's age. "If you look at the Olympic team, it looks like a stopped motion, like a picture, very crisp and clean," she said.

"I know that I can do just as good as the people around me, and I try and do it to my max, every single time. With one figure, I turned the wrong shoulder back, and I was like "Woh, I'm going to regret that"."

Hers is an approach that is also shared by her coaches. "Amy's success solidifies for us that we must be doing something right, that we are on the right track," Wandziak opined. "We're striving to always try to continue to better the program, to continue to better the swimmers, to continue to better the coaches."

In the same vein, the Sudbury Synchro Club is hosting, this weekend, 2012 Olympian Stephanie Leclair, working some sessions with some of their young athletes Saturday in Copper Cliff. As long as that snowball of circular synergy has started rolling, no sense in slowing it down.

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