Jacqueline Simoneau and Karine Thomas Image by: Vaughn Ridley/Synchro Canada
Team Canada's synchronized swimming duet has learned a thing or two about the traits that turn an average Josephine into an Olympic contender.
This year, Synchro Canada’s dream team, experienced Karine Thomas, 27, and energetic Jacqueline Simoneau, 19, will be repping Canada in Rio in the synchronized swimming duet. The pair has been together three years—ever since Karine’s last partner retired—and has a sisterly relationship where they draw on one another’s strengths for support. They also have a lot of ideas about what makes an athlete, or a team, work well.
Here are their top qualities for making it to the podium.
“I don’t have the legs, the feet or the height,” says Jacqueline. “When I first started synchro, all the coaches didn’t want to coach me and kept on telling my one coach who stuck with me, ‘Give up. She’s not going to go far.’ But once I finally made a couple of national teams, I did quite well internationally. And that’s when people started to see the potential in me.”
“Focus is extremely important,” says Karine. “We have a routine and every millisecond we have to move or do something synchronized either with seven other people or one other person.”
“I know that I’m putting all the effort into my training and I have to be able to trust that Jacquie is doing the same thing,” says Karine. “I don’t feel like I have to be hard on her because I know she’s extremely hard on her own performance and she wants the best for herself.”
“We confide in each other a lot,” says Karine. “And I look at her and know how tired she is and she’s still doing these amazing things, so that motivates me to do that as well.”
A competitive nature
“Say we’re training in the gym with the team or other athletes and we see a diver do 10 chin-ups,” says Jacqueline. “We want to do 12 or 15. We want to be better, faster and stronger.”