By Charlie Pinkerton
GO Capital Synchro’s Meaghan Lapierre was one of the club’s top athletes at this month’s provincial championships for artistic swimming.
The 15-year-old won one gold medal as part of her club’s age 13-15 team and two silvers, as a part of a duet team and in the solo competition at the Leslie Taylor Ontario Cup at the Nepean Sportsplex. Lapierre’s favourite competition style is solo, which also has its benefits in terms of training, according to her.
“If it’s just me, and let’s say I’m tired one day, I can just say that I can push it and I can do this because it’s just me and my coach and I don’t really depend on anybody else in a way,” Lapierre said. “So I know when I go into a competition, whether I’m feeling tired or I’m feeling super good, everything depends on me and only me.”
She says if she had to choose what competition style she enjoys second-most that it would be the duet.
“It’s fun just being alone with someone else, to have that friendship,” Lapierre said of her pairing with Sonia Dunn.
Lapierre’s moving on to the national qualifiers, which will be held at the end of March.
Most of the events she competes in are in the Greater Toronto Area, so it’s a rare occasion for Lapierre to compete at home. She said the provincial championships was the first time in years that she’s had a high-level competition in Ottawa.
“It’s pretty cool to be in my home town for once,” Lapierre said.
She did admit that she had to adjust to not having to pack and prepare for an out of town event. Originally, Lapierre thought it might throw her off since she wouldn’t feel in the familiar mindset that she’s used to for competition.
“I knew that I had to start concentrating about having a competition about three or four days before just to get myself in the mood,” she said
Overall, she said there ended up being less to stress about by competing in Ottawa.
Lapierre says her ultimate goal this season is to make Canada’s national team for her age group and to compete at the 1st FINA Artistic Swimming Youth World Championships in Slovakia. She’s worn the Maple Leaf before as a member of Ontario’s team when it’s competed outside of Canada – like when she won gold as a soloist at the Pan Am Games in Puerto Rico in 2016 – but hasn’t yet had the opportunity to compete as a member of Canada’s true national-level roster
Other Ottawa swimmers won medals at the Leslie Taylor Ontario Cup as well. They included: GO Capital Synchro teams (2nd, junior team technical and junior team free and free combination, and 1st, age 13-15), Anastasia and Maya Bell (GO Capital, 3rd, junior duet technical), Kailey LaPointe and Jade Warren (GO Capital, 3rd, junior duet free), Emma Fox (GO Capital, 1st place, senior solo technical and senior solo free), Nanxi Jiang (GO Capital, 2nd, age 13-15 figures), Alana Ittusardjuat (Nepean Synchro, 1st, athletes with disabilities (AWD)-P, Level 1 figures and Level 1 solo), and Sadie Shouldice (Nepean Synchro, 1st, AWD-C, Level 1 figures and Level 1 solo).