HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA
In sport, a final is often a good place to step up your performance.
That’s what Yukon’s synchronized swim team did last week at the Canada Winter Games in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
After qualifying 20th out of 21 teams in the preliminary of the duets event, Yukon’s Taylor Hanna and Simone Kitchen nailed it in Friday’s final, shooting up to 10th.
“We’re very excited about that,” said Hanna. “We were really pleased with our marks. Going into the finals we just wanted to get a higher score.
“It was a good way to end the Canada Games.
“We had a great mission staff, a great coach, a great manager and a great group of girls.”
The top-10 finish was the culmination of five years of work together and one year preparing their program. The two choreographed the routine with some help from Yukon coach Aura-Lea Harper and manager Heather Harris.
“A very technical routine. They have a lot of underwater figures, which makes it more difficult,” said Harper. “They had a really good swim.
“I feel very good about it. It’s a very good placing for the Yukon. I think it’s the best the Yukon has ever done. I’ve been to every Canada Games since 1999.”
Yukon’s other swimmer, Olivia Duncan, also had a strong end to the Games, taking 11th in the solo competition on Saturday.
“She has been in the sport for five years, but has only been swimming the solo for the last two,” said Harper. “It’s a very technical routine as well. She pretty much made up her solo routine herself. She had a really good swim.”
The Yukoners did well, but the three had an inauspicious start to the Games in the figures competition, in which swimmers individually perform specific moves in front a panel of judges.
Out of the 103 competitors, Hanna posted the best results, placing 81st.
“Figures isn’t always our strongest point, I guess, but personally I was really happy with the placing that I got,” said Hanna. “Although it wasn’t in the top half, it was the best overall score I had ever gotten in figures.”
All three athletes are members of Yukon’s Northern Novas Synchronized Swim Team. Last June at a competition called Masy in Saskatoon, Hanna and Kitchen took gold in the duet competition while Duncan won silver in the solo.
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