The ripple effect of Sudbury Synchro being felt
by Randy Pascal
It's time for the Sudbury Synchro Club to kick it up to second gear.
After firmly establishing themselves as a team to watch in recent years, largely through the success they have enjoyed within the 13-15 team bracket, the local
synchronized swim group appear poised to expand upon that foundation, showcasing both their top-end swimmers as well as the next wave of up and coming talent in
competitions early this year.
Ironically, a numbers crunch that some might point to as a drawback may have led, at least in part, to the ability of the Sudbury group to stand side by side, on
the podium, with clubs which easily dwarf the northern squad, simply in terms of the number of athletes that they train.
"There are bigger clubs where they can just look at the names and find the people that are the best of the best and then throw them on a team together," noted 15
year old Bronwyn Ashley, a member of the SSC for the past eight years. "We've never been able to do that because we don't have enough people in the club."
"I think it puts a lot less pressure on us, we're not scared that somebody is going to take our place. We have a lot of fun. We all hang out outside of swimming,
we're all friends, even without the sport being there." In fact, Ashley finds herself surrounded with familiarity, competing often with an age group ensemble that
also features Emily Binks, Maeve Caddel, Madison Hood, Sarah Ieropoli, Stacie Kohan, Amy Lacelle, Georgia Speck and Gillian Franklin.
It's a team that little to no fear of facing representatives from clubs whose status as a provincial powerhouse was already well enshrined when Sudbury Synchro
dusted itself off some 15-20 years ago, setting in motion the wheels of progress that are paying huge dividends these days.
Within the smaller confines of the SSC, the need to replenish from within is critical.
"Sudbury has always been a really friendly group of people," contended Ashley. "People come in and you just try and make them feel as welcomed as possible. You
don't want someone to move up from a different team and have them feel like they don't belong - that's no fun for anyone. Not only do we grow as a team, but there's
also so much individual growth."
Still, there are times that Ashley and her teammates must surely pinch themselves in realizing just how far they have come as a team, as a club. "Even in my second
year of doing this, my first year of competitive, our goal was to not come last," she recalled. "The fact that we have progressed so much as a team, it's amazing.
We're up there with the top people. Every year, it just got better and better and better."
That has to be encouraging news to the likes of Heidi Fink and Lana Squires, just two in a collection of young up and coming talent that would dearly
love to replicate the athlete development chart fashioned by their older teammates. With a pair of recent competitions under their belts, the U10/U11 youngsters were
able to provide a relative assessment.
"We had a better swim in Waterloo," stated Fink. "The first length was all synchronized. Everybody did it at the same count and on the right count." Like most
young swimmers, the Sudbury delegates know that there are plenty of challenges that remain ahead, skills that remain to be mastered, those make or break movements
that can help them ascend further and further up the rankings.
"We have a really long figure, we stay underwater for a long time," said Fink. "We all have to move into a straight line, with our legs above the water, sculling
really hard to get into the line.?The truth is that for this particular group to reach their end goal, improvement must be never-ending.
"The difficulty was not hard enough, so we're going to change five things, but we're not really sure what they are yet to make our difficulty higher so that we can
get higher marks," noted Squires. While the two girls compete on separate team entries, both were successful in earning a berth in the Ontario Winter Games,
largely on the strength of their figure scores.
A grade six student at the Sudbury Christian Academy, Squires is particularly excited about the selection of music and theme that accompanies their routine,
a collage of sport and artistry that she believes has true potential to connect with the judges.
"I really like the music because I feel like most of the judges are older people, so they would really understand our music," said Squires. "It's got Freak Out and
Staying Alive, it's kind of a mix - I think a lot of people know it so it kind of applies to everybody."
"We have a disco ball, under our arms, and then we have coloured lights. Disco was a lot of dancing and music, so we do a lot of moves kind of like rolling our
arms down in the water and spins and stuff like that. We are kind of almost dancing in the water to the actual music."