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Sudbury sport success for smaller clubs
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Many, if not most of the local sport associations have seen a dip in the numbers in moving from pre-Covid to (quasi) post-Covid registration figures. For many of the larger groups, while this is not an ideal situation, it’s most certainly one they can endure and absorb, all while focused on bouncing back.

For the smaller groups, however, a significant dip can pose a threat to their very existence.

Add the de-commissioning of the ideal training pool to the mix for the soon to be rebranded Sudbury Synchro Swim Club and the potential existed to see the group that had shown plenty of growth and promise in the decade leading into the pandemic slip by the wayside altogether.

Thankfully, while the core of club coaches and administrators have transitioned over time, they remain as strong and firmly committed as ever. The mere fact that while the slate of competitive swimmers may have dropped to just six for the recent provincials, the team was accompanied by no less than five coaches tells you everything you need to know about these folks who are absolutely fervent in their love of all things artistic swimming.

It also just might help explain why such a small crew could enjoy such impressive success, with no less than three swimmers cracking the top ten in figures while a quartet also placed second, as a team, in their particular age category.

“It’s about the way that we place a focus on the figures and make sure the athletes understand the importance of figures,” noted club head coach Courtney Stasiuk, the former competitor who spent much of her time this year coaching the coaches, so to speak. “We’re able to provide individual corrections. It’s something that, over the years, I feel that we’ve done very well.”

“With the six girls and so many coaches, almost a one to one ratio, the athletes were able to get a little more attention.”

That paid off in spades as Amy Lacelle (3rd of 197 total swimmers; 1st in 15 yr old division), Heidi Fink (8th/197 and 3rd in 15 yrs) and club Athlete of the Year Eva Jessup (36th/197 and 1st in 13 yrs) all distinguished themselves in the figures, teaming up with Amy Seguin to finish second of the 25 teams in the 13-15 bracket, and topping the 15 year-old group completely.

Making their first appearance at the all-Ontario meet, Kyla Turner and Tia Kingshott rounded out the local contingent, unleashing their best duet swim of the season in Toronto. “Everyone improved so much from the last competition, which was only a month prior,” said Stasiuk. “One of the things that I noticed was just their mindset, the way that they were able to present themselves, their focus.”

While much of the credit for that is deservedly doled out to the athletes themselves, the accompanying coaches (Emily Binks, Alystra Riddle, Gillian Franklin, Sevoya Riddle) also share in the accomplishments, even as they continue to develop as coaches in much the same way their swimmers are developing in the pool.

“I put a huge focus on mental health – I think that was a major reason why we did so well,” offered Binks, having set aside her days of competition just a few years ago to now mentor the athletes, a natural move for the second year Child & Youth Care student at Cambrian College.

“I have to give a lot of credit to the girls that I coached; they are very resilient,” Binks added. In fact, what started as a team of seven was trimmed almost in half by the time that year-end events provided the chance to showcase their skills. “We had a lot of re-adjusting to do because the routine was choreographed for seven people, then choreographed for five, then for four people.”

“It took a lot of effort.”

Binks also made very good use of all assets at her disposal.

“I looked at videos, at You Tube a lot,” said the young woman who swam with the club from the age of six to sixteen. “You try and look at the strengths of the athletes. Courtney sent out a email at the beginning of the season which included components that should be in a routine, almost like a checklist – and she has a lot of expertise.”

One of the keys for Sudbury Synchro, as it is with almost any local sport organizations, is to find a degree of continuity within the system, something that is apparent through their current coaching ranks.

"The clubs always talks about giving back - and coaching matches perfectly with what I want to do with my life," said Binks.

Speaking of a life spent with swimming, the group also celebrated masters swimmer and long-time member Christine Fink, now into her 30th year of involvement with the group.

Following are more detailed results from provincials:

Figure Scores
Amy Lacelle - 67.4420
Heidi Fink - 66.0424
Eva Jessup - 60.9153
Amy Seguin - 59.5763
Kyla Turner - 57.5324 Tia Kingshott - 53.2190

13-15 - Team Results
Swimmers - Lacelle, Fink, Jessup, Seguin
Coach - Emily Binks
Routine Score - 63.4000
Championship Score - 126.8940
beat out York Artistic Swim Club, second only to Durham Synchro
Sudbury Synchro had the highest figure score out of all 25 teams (average of 63.4940)

13-15 Duet - Results
Swimmers - Kyla Turner & Tia Kingshott
Coaches - Alystra Riddle & Gillian Franklin
Duet Score - 58.3750*
* their best score of the season

13-15 Solo - Results
Swimmer - Eva Jessup
Coaches - Sevoya Riddle & Courtney Stasiuk
Routine Score - 59.1083
Championship Score - 120.0236
* routine was originally choreographed as a duet but was re-choreographed as a solo

Junior Tech Duet - Results
Swimmers - Heidi Fink & Amy Lacelle
Coach - Emily Binks
Routine Score - 59.7597 (6th overall)

Junior Free Duet - Results
Swimmers - Heidi Fink & Amy Lacelle
Coach - Alystra Riddle
Routine Score - 62.9083 (5th overall)

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