More than 300 synchronized swimmers will be in Surrey next spring for the 2018 Espoir Synchronized Swimming Canadian Championships. (Photo: facebook.com/SynchroBC)

More than 300 synchronized swimmers will be in Surrey next spring for the 2018 Espoir Synchronized Swimming Canadian Championships. (Photo: facebook.com/SynchroBC)

Synchronized swimming event coming to Surrey ‘as big as it gets in Canada’

Surrey Sport and Leisure Centre pool to host national championships next spring

By Cam Tucker, Surrey Now-Leader contributor

The days of August can be described as the calm before the plunge, however, it won’t be long until clubs from across the province begin preparations for the 2018 Espoir Synchronized Swimming Canadian Championships in Surrey next spring.

The national event returns to British Columbia for the first time since it was held in Kamloops in 2014. The competition, which will take place at the Surrey Sport and Leisure Centre pool, will feature 325 athletes and about 120 coaches and officials from across the country from May 29 to June 3.

The athletes are divided into two groups: The 11-12 age group and the 13-15 age group. For athletes in the latter category, this event not only puts their clubs against others from Canada, but it will also include trials for spots on national teams and the opportunity to perhaps compete on the international stage, said RaeAnne Rose, president of Synchro BC.

“So, it’s as big as it gets in Canada,” Rose said.

“In my experience, I find the pressure extremely well managed,” she added. “The one thing about synchronized swimming that I love is the coaches are professional coaches. They’re paid coaches, so they have all kinds of expertise and skill on managing the pressure. At this age, I find the girls — it may be that it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. They’re quite excited about. It’s very exciting to go travel.

“I think at this age, it’s still very exciting and fun.”

The event is still more than nine months away, and it’s unlikely right now that teams will have already started their work for this event.

That will soon change. Teams may hold camps geared more toward fitness in the week prior to Labour Day, said Rose, before the training regimen picks up next month.

Athletes in the 13 to 15 age category may train up to 18 hours a week, said Rose, adding athletes in the 11 to 12 age category may only train about 10 hours a week.

Since 2010, the national championships have been held in Montreal, Gatineau, Etobicoke, Ottawa, Kamloops, Saint John, Winnipeg and London. Synchro Canada stated that the 2018 event should have an economic impact of more than $1 million for the City of Surrey.

For local athletes, it will provide them with a chance to compete closer to home and perhaps in front of additional friends and family that may otherwise not be able to travel to other Canadian destinations to watch.

“It’s a pretty big deal. We don’t get it in B.C. that often,” Rose said. “There’s only certain facilities that can handle an event like this and only certain cities that can pull it off. You have to have the right host club to be able to pull it off. It isn’t an easy undertaking.

“Having a local competition of this calibre is super exciting for families.”

Cam Tucker