CLAUDIA AND JACKIE TAKE ON JAPAN

Well it’s official, after one day of competition, we are in Japan. A few months ago, Jackie and I recieved confirmation that we would be participating in the Kakehashi Project. (Kakehashi means “bridge for tomorrow”) This project is to create friendships between Canada and Japan as well as learn about Japan’s economy, society, history, culture, politics, diplomatic relations and of course the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. Sharing what we learned to fellow Canadians and friends around the world!

We will be in Japan for about 8 days with 7 other athletes from Canada! They represent synchronized/artistic swimming, archery, sailing, canoe, skateboarding, taiquando, gymnastics and fencing. The group will be attending lectures, talking to university students, experiencing the culture of Japan and finding ways to share our experiences with the rest of Canada (and the World) upon our return.

We will also will be travelling to Kyoto, where we will be staying with a Japanese family and surely visiting some of their famous temples and, as we just found out, we will also be learning the art of meditation, as it is very important for athletes to know how to concentrate properly!

It is sure to be a busy, yet exciting trip for us! I look forward to sharing the trip with you and documenting all of the interesting experiences we will have these next few days!

Claudia

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GIRL TRIES LIFE PODCAST

A few weeks ago I was asked to do an interview for the “Girl Tries Life” Podcast!! It was a fun interview about my life as my team and I prepare for the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

For all of the questions I am sure many people are dying to ask an athlete in training, “Girl Tries Life” asks them all!

CLICK HERE for a great article and the podcast! 🙂

P.S Sorry for the audio quality on my end! Hope you still enjoy it!

And so it begins! 

Good morning! 

It’s a snowy, dark morning here in Montreal as I walk out of my apartment for the 1st time of 2017. I don’t think I’ve had to wake up this early for almost 9 months. The only reason I would ever decide to stand on the sidewalk, waiting for the bus to arrive on a day like today, is Synchro! It’s DAY 1 of 2017 and of the next Olympic Quad! 

As I look back on my Christmas Holiday, for the 1st time in 4 years, I feel truly satisfied. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve made myself a life here or if it’s just because I really had a thorough visit with my family and friends back home, but I feel good; excited even, to get back to training with this team again. 

I remember this day 4 years ago. There was maybe 5 of us who came from the same generation of athletes and we were so young!! Imagine moving out of your home (which all of us had to do) at 18, finding an apartment and being told on day 1 that you are training for the Olympics. It’s a surreal feeling to sit there at that age and know that your spot on the team is never guaranteed, but you have to train and compete like you are going to the Olympics with this group of girls. It’s like writing your story, but without knowing the ending! 

Now that I know the end of that last book, I feel different sensations on day 1. Excitement knowing that this is just the beginning, happiness knowing I’m about to see my synchro family in a few short minutes, confidence knowing that I now have the experience of all but one competition, and ready to completely accept everything that will happen this year! 

2016 was a hardddddddddd year for us to say the least and I think that 2017 owes us some good things. 

Here’s to a great year! 


C

Tobermory Adventures

Tobermory, if you every have the chance to visit, is a small, charming and gorgeous place to spend your summer. The team was contacted recently with an incredible opportunity to swim in the Georgian Bay for the 150th Anniversary of Canada! SESQUI is an interactive media touring festival that will travel across the country in 2017. They have been filming all across Canada and will show the world a 360 degree view of our beautiful country! I have to say that the vision behind this project is incredible. Who would think to film Ballet in an airport, or synchro in a lake?? They did! We are so privileged to be a scene in this 20 minute film that will be shown in dome theatres everywhere.

At around 2:30pm on September 7th, after a plane to Toronto and a 4 hour bus, 8 of our girls at the Centre of Excellence took the 30
minute boat ride out of the Tobermory Harbour, to the edge of the Georgian Bay. There were 3 boats, one for the girls, which provided snacks, tea, and blankets, one for the crew and one rescue boat. The water was gorgeous and incredibly clear. We would be swimming about 200 metres from shore in front of what the crew called “the orb”, a bundle of cameras that would shoot a 360 degree view of the area, right over top of one of the many shipwrecks. As we arrive, we realize that the “lake” is not behaving the way you would think, more like an OCEAN if you ask me! We had huge waves with white caps coming off of them…. not ideal for SynchronizedSwimming…

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While we wait for the “OK” to jump into the water, we hear OUR music blaring from the shore line. It was epic. The entire team was in awe… OUR Fire & Ice music seemed to fit so well in this scenery; waves crashing, with the cool air and the sun setting in the background with the clear, erry water showing us all of it’s past triumphs. All we could muster was, “wooooooooow!!”

Even more comically, as the crew (in wetsuits) shares that the water is “not that cold” the team is in our competition outfits. Hair gelled, make up on and in our tiny sparkling suits, we jump into the Bay, with blood curdled screams! Rumours say the water was between 16 to 20 degrees. Though I would move that closer to the 16 degree mark…. there was some moments of panic, we quickly warmed up (as much as possible) and made our way to the ‘orb’ where we would do the rest of our filming.

After a quick rehearsal, and a small break, the orb was lowered into the water. Because the water was so cold and the waves were physically displacing our pattern at ever possible chance, our plan of swimming a 1.5 minute section was immediately a “no go”. We ended up having to do 10 seconds of our routine at a time. The below water shots were pretty easy to do because we could communicate above the water the whole time, minus one minor miscommunication where the orb was to shallow to swim above…. Imagine 8 girls using hand signals and screaming to the director (who is on shore) to drop the orb deeper into the water…. with very little success. Until a few minutes later he said over the microphone, “ohhhhh the orbs to shallow!” All of us start to laugh and scream “YESSSSSS!” Haha a little comic relief to get over the chill creeping over our bodies!

I have to say that the above water shoot, which just consisted in divers bringing the orb above the water on a pole that was anchored to the bottom of the bay, was extremely fun. This is the time where we really realized how beautiful this was going to be! The lake started to calm itself, the sun was in the perfect position and we (after many times training the sections) were finally getting comfortable in the water. The best part of the above shoot is that there can be no one around us….. So for about 5 minutes we would wait for the 3 boats to leave us out there…. all alone, above a shipwreck, with the crew literally hiding from the cameras. The music would start and we would do our small sections over and over again until it was time to call in the rescue boat! They would be the 1st on the scene to get us out of the water and check whether we got the shot. Of course there was some technical issues, so we would go in a few more times to get the perfect shot. Seriously, if you could have seen the view behind us as we swam, you would have fallen in love with this place too.img_0518

In total, we were out on the water for 4.5 hours and in the water for about 3 of them. We were chilly and exhausted after, but the experience of swimming in the bay that day will last forever.

For more information about SESQUI check out their Facebook Page or their Instagram which shows some of the incredible things they have done in their time of filming!

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Road To Tokyo

Hello World!

Today is officially DAY 1 of our Road To Tokyo!!! Watching Karine and Jackie make us proud in Rio was an incredible experience and we could not have hoped for a better performance from the two of them! We are so excited to hear about the entire journey from all of the experts who were in Rio with the girls.

Watching the Olympics was tough. It was hard because it is something you want to enjoy and watch with full commitment, like when you are young and ambitious about your future, but then the realization that we were basically there… just 0.7 away, sucks. It feels unfair and for a few moments you feel sad, but as soon you see your friends on TV kicking butt and winning medals, you start to realize that even the smallest thought of sadness is not worth it!

It’s the Olympics, there will be another chance! It’s all about coming together to watch our Canadian Athletes represent everything that you stand for and feel inspired by their stories, their struggles and their drive to achieve this ultimate goal. There were so many tears of joy during these games just knowing that I have met, spoken, and trained with most of these people. They have become my peers and I couldn’t be more excited of what they have achieved!

Our superstars have had the trip of their lives and in 4 years we will try to get that chance to live it as well. Each and every day is going to

Jackie at the Closing Ceremonies in Rio
Jackie at the Closing Ceremonies in Rio

be difficult and sometimes we will question everything that we have worked for, but in time it will be worth all the energy and the pain. This team has been through a lot, and with that there is a huge amount of fight in us. We will make this happen, we will be the Olympians we deserve to be.

“Perfect” online! 

Hey everyone! 

It’s been such a crazy week with “Perfect” coming out! I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has sent messages and live tweeted with me tonight, you are all awesome! 

If you haven’t had the chance to see “perfect” click the link Here and ENJOY! 

This version is 44 mins and is COMPLETELY different from the feature film that will be making its way across the country this fall (hopefully!) 

I hope you enjoy the film! If you have questions feel free to send me a tweet @claudiaholzner or write me using the blog! 

C.