It’s not done with mirrors—it only looks that way.
The Yukon’s only synchronized swim team, the Northern Novas, completed their season last weekend by looking towards the future. Hoping to raise interest and recruit new talent the team put on workshops and gave performances in Dawson City and Faro, bringing their sport to areas of the territory that rarely sees much aquatic athletics.
“We’re trying to recruit girls who are interested in the sport and share the sport,” said Northern Novas director Julie Robinson. “It’s competitive, but there’s an artistic element that speaks to a more artistic, gymnastics and dance side of movement.
“There’s an opportunity for girls to get involved in the sport. If girls are in a co-ed sport with boys, often by age 12 they start getting weaned off it and not participating.”
Instead of solely looking for new teammates, Robinson is hoping that the short tour will inspire some to start a team of their own.
“So we’ve come to different communities to see if we can introduce the sport and see if we can light the sport and have more than one team in the Yukon,” she said. “We have to go to other places to compete in Western Canada with our girls and it sure would be nice to have some local competition and more interest in the sport, so we’re making a big effort to get people involved.”
The Northern Novas have had much success in the last couple of years. In April at the BC Regional Meet, the Novas brought home three medals with Taylor Hanna and Simone Kitchen winning gold in the duet, followed by Katie Link and Olivia Duncan taking silver. Linkalso took gold in the solo division.
The following month in the Western Canadian Synchro Championships the Novas took in three bronze medals. Again Hanna and Kitchen again made the podium as well as teammates Jane Robinson-Boivin and Ashtyn Gibbs. Catherine Seal medalled in the solo event.
Hanna and Kitchen also won gold last year in the Jean Peters Annual BC Synchro Meet and in last year’s Western Canadians.
“We have that calibre of swimmer here,” said Robinson. “We have a fabulous coach, Aura-Lea Harper, who’s incredibly dedicated and works with the girls and has them do dry-land training and preparation at home. Because it’s a small group she can dedicate a lot of time to each girl.”
Not only were the workshops and performances a chance to try and see a few new things, those in the workshops put on performances of their own.
“In a couple hours they have some basic skills down and can do a performance,” said Robinson. “When young peers work with other girls, there’s really a fast learning curve.
“Later in the summer there might be time for another trip.
“They’re doing dry-land training right now and are in the pool two days a week. In August they have a month off and then they are back at it in September.”
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