As you know, because of the obvious title, I have now been to 4 FINA World Championships, each having it’s own specific moments that have made them special. I have been planning to write about these for some time now, SO today I will share a little moment from each of them with you!



At my first Worlds in 2013, which was held in Barcelona, we had this incredible moment in the Combo final. We had just finished our performance and it was the best swim we could have ever delivered.

At the end of our Queen themed routine the lights dimmed to a deep blue colour and we stepped onto the platform to receive our marks. We waited and heard a roar of boos. Our marks were, to the audience, too low for what they thought we deserved. As we turned to walk away the entire side of a 17,000 person stadium stood up, gave a huge roar and a standing ovation.

That year I also had my 3rd concussion and this was the only routine I was able to swim…. Just 2 weeks earlier it was decided that I could compete the Combo. It was a moment that made my year of pain turn to something so worth it.

Competing in the Combo final in Barcelona 2013


2 years later, we would be competing at the World Championships in Kazan. This one was different because I was swimming in the tech team, the free team and the combo, but somehow I was less stressed than the time before.

Walking on for Free Team – Kazan 2015

We had just come from winning the Pan Am Gold Medal, which was the highest moment in my career, but with that we had many last minute changes between the two competitions. There were injuries to teammates and some serious issues that we had to work through.

We swam and once again we had an interesting moment in the combo. We got ready to walk on and looked around…. The “roof”, which was actually covering only a small section of the pool, was leaking. Judges had rain ponchos, umbrellas and all other sorts of useful things to keep them dry while audience members looked soaked in the stands. We started by jumping into the pool…. soon realizing that we were swimming in a fog. The steam from the pool and the chilly air had made a thick layer of white. Swimming the routine, egg beatering without much sight, but boosting just high enough to be above the cloud, everything was clear.

That day the speakers were out as well. There was no sound underwater other than the crackling of the speaker. During our swim, every chance we got, we signaled to our coach that there was no more sound —- evidence in the picture hahaha

combo kazan
Combo Final – Kazan 2015…. don’t know who made this hahaha 😂


In Budapest in 2017, I had the opportunity of competing the duet as well as the team. Something I’ve been working towards for a very long time, but never thought it would come to pass.

This was my first time swimming outside since 2012 and it was so hot out there!!! The dark blue of the deck burnt our feet like hot lava and the pool itself was in the middle of a canal beside a castle. It was the most beautiful venue I’ve ever had the pleasure of competing in. So open and mesmerizing!

duet budapest
Tech Duet – Budapest 2017

It was the least stressful competition I’ve been to, though I was swimming more routines than I had 2 years before. We did our own thing, just like practice. For 5 weeks we had been training together and now we were on a hot stage, under the summer sun and competing for Canada. There isn’t a feeling much better than that.

For the team, we were a mix of “veterans” and “newbies.” I still remember watching them get ready for the swim, with excited yet nervous looks on their faces. 2017 was a tough one for the team and seeing them look at the crowded stands, smile, re-focus and open up to all the joy that can come from competing on the World Stage… it was just amazing!

team budapest
Day 1 of training at the Venue – Budapest 2017


And finally, World Championships in Korea, which just ended a few weeks ago!! Though this experience deserves a post in itself, here’s a sneak peak 😉:

Tech Team – Korea 2019

What an awesome competition!! This year was a challenging year, not just because we had a new team but because we really had to learn a lot from each other and about each other as we prepared for the Pan Am Games.

Trust is super important for all teams and that’s what we had to build….. And I think we’ve done it!! This World Championships I saw things that I could only describe as growth and pride.

Final Preparations – Korea 2019

This team arrived in January, barely knowing each other. Now, we are a confident team that is proving ourselves and showing what we are capable of each and every step of the way! Worlds is a big competition and these women handled it like pros!

Tech Duet – Korea 2019

I couldn’t be more happy with our performances in all of the events. We truly went out there ready to show the world what we can bring to the table and continued to shine throughout the competition! This World Championships was amazing in so many ways – even just being able to live in the Athlete Village was special – but all in all it was this unified sense of calm as well as the strength and resilience of my new teammates that made this one special!




If you would like to hear more about my experiences, or have questions you would like me to answer on the blog – use the contact form below! xo

Published by Claudia Holzner

Hello Everyone!! I am a synchronized swimmer on the Canadian National Team. Follow my blog to get an inside look at what it is like to be an elite athlete! Enjoy!!


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