Artistic Swimming, Sports

Making a splash is no big deal for McGill’s Artistic Swimming team

On Mar. 12, McGill’s artistic swimming team took the stage for their watershow––the final send-off before the Canadian University Artistic Swimming League (CUASL) National Championship in Winnipeg. 

With 13 routines developed by their seven coaches, the McGill artistic swimming squad has been incredibly successful this season. After dominating the 2023-2024 season opener, the squad made waves at the Eastern championship in Quebec City, with five podium finishes, including one double-podium, and four gold medal performances. 

The evening began with Diana Paparelli’s solo performance to Bruno Mars’ “Leave the door open.” Paparelli, like a few of her teammates, has changed her routine and song choice since the Eastern championships in early Feb., having to develop a brand-new artistic and creative performance in time for the national championships this weekend. Anna Dolgova also had to tweak her soundtrack, censoring her Amy Winehouse medley, as her experienced solo opened to the chorus of “Me & Mr Jones.”

“Personally I had a bad experience with my solo at Easterns, and I just felt that I was not feeling confident in the routine I was performing,” Paparelli explained. “For a solo performance you really have to enjoy swimming your routine to be able to execute it nicely.”

Head Coach Lindsay Duncan took the stage during intermission to expand on the recent changes in the CUASL assessment scheme. CUASL adopted the new international artistic swimming system of notation, which places a stronger emphasis on difficulty than before, raising it to the same importance as the other components considered—artistry and technicality. As such, long-term fans of the sport may have noticed the increased “difficulty” of the routines, which often manifest in increased time spent underwater with feet in the air. 

“Last year we were unfamiliar with the system and it was a challenge for our team,” Paparelli expanded. “However this year we doubled our efforts and made sure to create routines based around the new system, and improved very much.”

The evening ended with the presentation of the three teams’ performances, each more spectacular than the last. The first team to perform their routine was the novice team, composed of six swimmers, and coached by Teagan Rodrigues and Tamar Banon. To the beat of a medley of Black Eyed Peas songs, the athletes delivered an energetic and sassy performance that ended with the swimmers wielding the rock and roll “devil’s horns” hand gestures high above the water surface. 

Team two shared a cohesive and creative routine, despite missing a swimmer. The black and gold swimsuits enhanced the beauty of the harmonious performance to a medley from The Great Gatsby movie soundtrack. The waterfall-like sequences granted the routine a mesmerizing quality.

“[The watershow] gave us an opportunity to showcase [our routines] in front of a crowd [….] It’s a different feeling than when it’s just in practice,” explained experienced duet and team swimmer Ana Gordon in an interview with The Tribune

The evening ended with the experienced first team’s routine. The team took the stage as if doing a pre-game ritual, sporting baseball-themed bun-covers, sports jersey–esque swimsuits and headpieces in their gelatin-slicked hair. The sports-themed routine was composed to the tune of a medley of different iconic sports soundtracks. From “Eye of the Tiger” to Fox’s NFL theme song and The Sports Network’s Hockey Night in Canada jingle, the soundtrack enmeshed several iconic sporting sounds, including soundbites from McGill’s own home game crowd and commentary. The performance opened with an acrobatic figure with Catherine McGee propelled by her teammates into a forward tuck.

Soon after the watershow, the team flew to Winnipeg for the national championships. The novice team placed first in the preliminary round. The McGill squad dominated the novice category, earning gold in the team, duet and solo categories. In addition to their first-place duet to the tune of a LMFAO medley, Tara Fitzgerald and Paparelli also earned respectively the fourth and second place for their solos. Paparelli’s consistent performances granted the senior the Trophy for Top Overall Novice Athlete. McGill’s experienced squad also stood out, with team one earning silver, and Kayla Drew’s solo earning bronze. The squad’s performances all contributed to help McGill claim the 2024 Canadian University Artistic Swimming League National Championship title.

Share this:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Read the latest issue

Read the latest issue