Sports

Canadians add heavy metal to synchro routine

The Canadian duet of Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon and Elise Marcotte has introduced heavy metal to the normally easy-listening world of synchronized swimming, using music from Metallica for their free duet at the world aquatic championships in Shanghai, China.

Pounding drums. Piercing guitar riffs. Nose plugs?

The Canadian duet of Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon and Elise Marcotte has introduced heavy metal to the normally easy-listening world of synchronized swimming. The team will use music from Metallica's Master of Puppets and Enter Sandman when its swims the free duet at the world aquatic championships in Shanghai, China.

Boudreau-Gagnon admits the choice of music is a break from the norm, but so far both audiences and judges have responded favourably.

"It's pretty cool for our sport," Boudreau-Gagnon said. "It's new.

"Everyone in the rest of the world really thinks Metallica is a great routine physically. It's well received by the judges and the rest of the coaches around the world. We have made a good impact for sure."

Boudreau-Gagnon begins competition Saturday in the solo technical preliminaries. The preliminaries for duet and the team competition start Sunday.

Coach Julie Sauve said the duet team wanted to do something different and hence, the idea of Metallica came up.

"We created this routine from there," Sauve said.

So far the duet's music selection has proven successful. The pair has won competitions in Brazil and Germany. The Metallica routine at last fall's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi has even made its way on to YouTube.

Being different is nothing new for Canadian synchronized swimmers.

Creative Canadians

"Canada always has been recognized as the most creative and innovative country in synchronized swimming, always bringing new interesting and different routines," said Sauve. "Historically, we have seen some countries who integrate our highlights into their routines after we presented it for the first time."

At the 2009 world championships in Rome, the Canadian team combo won a bronze while Boudreau-Gagnon was third in the technical solo.

Russia remains the dominate country in the sport, winning every Olympic gold medal since 2000. Russians also won six gold medals in Rome.

Boudreau-Gagnon believes Canada has improved to the point where it can battle Spain and China for medals.

"I think we really believe in this team and we really think we have a chance for the podium in London," said the 28-year-old from Riviere-du-Loup, Que.

"I think now Canada is back on track. We can see it in competitions. Everyone is coming to see us when we are training."

Boudreau-Gagnon said the world championships are an important yardstick for the Canadians to measure themselves heading into an Olympic year.

"The worlds are important because it will be our last chance to see the rest of the world before the Olympics," she said. "After that, everyone is going to hide and not present any of their programs so they will have a surprise at the Olympics.

"It's going to be a good opportunity to see what's going on in the international community."

The synchronized swim team has two goals in China. It wants to win medals while serving notice Canada will be a factor at the London Olympics.

"We want to take advantage of the attendance of the best athletes and international judges to continue improving our routines," said Sauve.

Boudreau-Gagnon said Canada wants to send a message.

"The biggest challenge at the world championships is going to be to close the gap because Spain and China," said Boudreau-Gagnon.

"Either pass them or really close the gap.

"We really need to be in their basket if we want to beat them."

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