There are no members of the Prince George Water Lilies competing in the synchronized swimming at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
That’s hardly a surprise, though, given the club’s short history.
“The Games announcement was in 2011, I think,” says club secretary Lynn Barager, who is also a coach with the team. “The Games staff with synchronized swimming told us this would be a great chance to start a club. There hadn’t been a club here for probably 20 years.”
Club treasurer Maureen Evanson says they started work fairly quickly.
“We had our first meeting in November 2012,” says Evanson, also a coach, “and we held a ‘See It, Try It’ event in July 2013.
“We decided there was enough interest there to start the club.”
“And it’s been nuts ever since,” chimes in Nicole Barager, the club president (and yes, also a coach). “Nobody in the group had any synchro experience.”
Maureen remembers those first practices.
“The youngest swimmer we had was 7. We had asked everyone to have their Level 4 in swimming, and started with what we had. We separated them into groups and started working on the basic skills.”
After getting the basic skills down, it was time to work on the technical aspects, then add the artistic components.
Judging on what has been happening at the Prince George Aquatic Centre this week, there is a lot of interest in the sport.
“They did the figures yesterday (Tuesday),” Maureen said, “which is just a series of technical movements. We tried to discourage people from coming, told them it wouldn’t be very exciting and they had to stay quiet.
“We had about 60 people come out.”
Nicole says the big draw will, as usual, be the team event, which will have its finals on Friday.
“That’s what people associate with synchro. It’s a theatre show for the audience, and the girls under the water are dying.”
Once the Games are done, the Warer Lilies will be back in the pool, getting ready for competition.
“March 6 to 8,” Nicole says, “we’re in Kelowna for a competition, and we may be going to one in Richmond in April.”
What all three would like to see is more synchro clubs across the north, making competitions easier to schedule.
“We’re the most northern club in B.C. right now,” Nicole says. “That’s a title we would love to give away.”