The doors keep opening for Sudbury synchronized swimmer Amy Lacelle.
Continuing to post results that rank her among the very best in the province in her age group, the 14 year old member of Sudbury Synchro was invited this year to take part in the Synchro Swim Ontario NextGen - RTC program, a definite coup, both individually, as well as for the local club.
"What I am doing now compared to when I was training in Edmonton," explained the grade eight student at St James Catholic Elementary School in Lively. "They have the same kind of surroundings, but we're training a lot harder, because I was a lot younger then."
Which is not to suggest that Lacelle did not pull heavily upon the memories of her experience with the 2017 Synchro Youth Natation Challenge. "It helped me to adapt to my surroundings this time," she said.
"At Ontario Winter Games, we were staying by ourselves, and in Edmonton, I was a 12-year old staying by myself with a 12-year old that I had only known for a month. I was kind of stressed out, because I didn't know, for instance, how to put on gelatin by myself."
"Edmonton helped me learn how to do that."
Suffice to say that Lacelle is both a different swimmer and a different person as she prepares to enter high-school in the fall. "I was looking back on some routines from when I was 11, 12, even last year, compared to this year, and there is a drastic change."
"I just look a lot more confident now when I swim. I have learned how to make sure I am not doing things differently in competition than when I do it in practice."
From the very start of her career, it was clear that Lacelle had talent. Combine that with a keen focus on improvement and it's obvious why the local swimmer would catch the eye of Synchro Ontario.
"The way I execute my figures has always been one of my strengths," she explained. "Even if I am having a down day, I try and make sure I make every figure the same way I've been making them for a long time - really high, nice and sharp, really nice knee extension and toe point, which I work on pretty much every day."
To her credit, the teen continues to isolate those key areas that require additional practice, conscious of the attention to detail that is key to so many champions of the sport. "For me, I would have to say that this applies to everything, but my knee extension flexibility," she suggested.
"In my middle splits, they are definitely not flat. It's getting better, but when I do my rocket split, my back leg is just a little bit bent." This is most certainly the type of commitment to excellence that folks involved with the provincial sports body truly appreciate.
And Lacelle, for her part, is equally reciprocal in her appreciation of these opportunities. "The really cool thing is that we get to work with the Canadian Sport Institute - Ontario, and we got to do VO2 max," she said. "That was really cool."
And lest she and her training partners ease into any smidge of complacency, the demands of the monthly high level workouts can clearly hit home. "We're actually recreating a Russian Olympic technical routine," noted Lacelle.
"We swam the first 15 seconds and I was more out of breath than I am halfway through my free routines right now. The Russians have really intricate choreography." It's all become something of a wild ride for the youngster who truthfully did not see this coming.
"I never thought I would be a synchro swimmer," she said. "I always thought I would be an other sport person, maybe a volleyball player or something. When I look at synchronized swimmers, they all looked really toned. Six years later, here I am."