Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Simoneau & Thomas win silver at first synchro competition since Rio 2016

Competing together for the first time since their seventh-place finish at Rio 2016, Jacqueline Simoneau and Karine Thomas climbed onto the podium at the third stage of the FINA Synchronized Swimming World Series on Sunday in Tokyo.

Canada’s top duet began the competition in the next summer Olympic host city on Saturday with the technical routine. They ended that phase in second place with a score of 88.345 points, putting them behind Olympic bronze medallist and local favorite Yukoki Inui and her new partner.

On Sunday they presented their free routine, reprising the music and theme of their Olympic program. Almost exactly one year to the day after winning silver at the Japan Open, Simoneau and Thomas repeated the feat by earning 86.900 points for the second-best score of the day.

The Canadians ended the competition with a cumulative score of 177.945 points to place between the Japanese (183.1054) and the Greek duo (173.6279).

“We have not trained a lot for the duet since the Olympics,” Simoneau said. “Karine lives about 200km away in Gatineau, so I am very proud of our performance considering this. From now until Budapest (site of the 2017 FINA World Championships), we will both be living in Montreal, so that we can train a lot more, and I think we can fix the major mistakes we made today. ”

Fourth after the technical duet (85.6035), their Canadian teammates Claudia Holzner and Gabriella Brisson finished the competition in fourth place (171.5702) after the presentation of their free routine (85.9667).

The next round of the World Series will begin in Toronto on Tuesday.