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Swimming and dance collide
Fort Liard youth get active with synchronized movement

April Hudson
Northern News Services
Thursday, August 13, 2015

With the swimming season drawing to a close, the synchronized swimming team in Fort Liard has just entered its first competition.

NNSL photo/graphic

The Fort Liard synchronized swimming team practises often at the swimming pool. The season ends on Aug. 22, when their instructor leaves. - photo courtesy of Sophie Kirby

The contest does not unfold in the pool, per se - instead, the team collaborated with instructor Sophie Kirby to compile a dance video, to be entered into the High Five national dance competition.

High Five is an organization that promotes physical literacy for children and youth.

The nine swimmers on the team all got their start in synchronized swimming this year after Kirby secured a summer position with the hamlet recreation department.

Kirby came to Fort Liard from Guelph, Ont., and will be returning home on Aug. 22 for her fourth year of university.

"I love it here. It's been an amazing experience and I'm hoping to come back next summer," she said.

Team members range in age from nine to 14 and Kirby said attendance has been growing.

"At first it was difficult to find students interested, but I have a good team now," she said.

"They've been challenging themselves and moving differently in the water."

Holly Fantasque, 13, has been swimming for about five years and said synchro came naturally.

"The co-ordination part is a little hard, but we just do it," she said. "Some of the challenges I found were not touching the bottom of the pool - if you touch the ground, you get disqualified."

Fantasque said she is interested in continuing with synchro if the program is offered after this year, and hopes to attend a competition in the future. She is confident in her abilities.

"I've been to normal swimming competitions in the past - front crawl and the like," she said.

"I'm a star swimmer."

Kirby competed nationally when she was in high school, and since entering university has continued with synchro.

There are currently synchronized swimming competitions in the NWT, but Kirby said the video competition is a good substitute.

The winning video with the most votes will receive $1,000 in High Five merchandise or sport training for staff members.

"I'm sending it in and we'll see what happens. Our team is doing really well," she said.

"A lot of them have a natural talent for synchro, because they come to the pool almost every day and practise swimming. They always ask me when the next practise is so I know they look forward to it."

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