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Youngest NextGen team member rises farther yet at synchro nationals

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Nepean Synchro-bred Kristin Stremlaw (right) & Catherine Barrett won national duet silver. Photo provided

By Martin Boyce

Going from 11 hours of training per week to 30 “was a huge shock” initially for synchronized swimmer Kristin Stremlaw, but with a pile of shiny new medals and her status as the youngest member of the Canada’s senior NextGen team, the additional practice is most definitely paying off for the 16-year-old Ottawa native.

“It’s definitely a big training load, but it’s such an awesome experience,” says Stremlaw, who was named to the NextGen team in December and is currently in the midst of a 6-week camp with the squad. “I’m already having a great time and it’s just very exciting for me.”

Stremlaw starred for the Nepean Synchro Club before she and her family moved to Toronto. Her father, former Curling Canada CEO Greg Stremlaw, became the head of CBC Sports in 2015, while she setup shop at the new Synchro Canada regional training centre, established in the wake of the Pan Am Games.

“It was so perfect in the fact that his job opportunity was in Toronto along with the regional training centre,” indicates Strewlaw, who moved in a hurry following a competition in Italy with the age 13-15 national team.

“I was fortunate enough to find a really good school and adjust really quickly,” she adds.
Stremlaw earned her spot on the NextGen team following last November’s trials, and carried that momentum on to the May 2-7 Canadian Open Championships in Toronto, scoring a gold medal in the senior team finals and silvers in senior tech duet, open combo and junior team finals.

“Overall it was a really good meet,” Stremlaw signals. “I had never really felt more confident in my routine skills than at that Canadian Open. I think it definitely worked in my favour, and I ended up with four medals.”

Being the youngest member of the NextGen team has given her the opportunity to learn from the older swimmers, she underlines.

“They can really teach me a lot about the senior national level because there are definitely differences between the junior and senior categories,” explains Stremlaw, who credits every coach and training program she’s been with for playing a part in her success.

“There have been so many key influences on my career thus far,” adds the synchro athlete of 10 years, set compete next for Canada at the June 22-24 America Open in Long Island, N.Y. “It’s just been many people, along with my own efforts, that have gotten me to where I am today.”

More young swim talent

A pair of fellow Nepean Synchro products were recently named to national team programs as well. Also now based in Toronto, Olivia Jensen-Large was one of 16 athletes named to the junior national athlete pool seeking to represent Canada at the 2018 World Junior Championships, while Nepean-bred GO Capital swimmer Jade Warren was selected to the age 13-15 national team.

At the May 23-28 provincials in Toronto, Nepean took home a silver in the 16-20 team finals and bronze in 11-12 duets, led by Sonnia Dunn and Brianna St. Cyr.

Nanxi Jiang, with GO Capital Synchro, placed 1st in 11-12 figures while Maya Bell finished 3rd in 13-15 figures. Gabrielle Gillan also placed 1st for GO Capital in the solo finals.

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