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Making a splash at Pan Am Games

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Loucks brings home pair of medals

Cathy Dobson

It’s Pan Am Gold for Sarnia’s Larissa Loucks and her Junior National team of artistic swimmers.

Loucks returned home from the Pan Am Games in Fort Lauderdale Florida this week with two medals including the gold for a three-minute, technically-stunning team routine, as well as a bronze as alternate with the duet event.

“I knew I personally was doing a good job but you don’t fully know that everything is going perfectly for your team during the routine,” said Loucks, 17.

Larissa Loucks won a bronze as the alternate in Canada’s duet team. From left are: Nadia Crits, Loucks, and Lauren Irving. (Submitted photo)

So when the eight young women finished their demanding (synchronized swimming) performance in an outdoor Florida pool, they literally jumped into the air with joy when the judges said they’d hit every technical mark.

“We jumped up cheering even before we knew how well we scored,” said Loucks. “It was really exciting because the technical difficulty is a very challenging aspect.”

Minutes later, the artistic swimmers on Canada’s junior national team learned they had beat 13 other countries and won first in their category.

Canada’s Junior National Team delivered a gold-medal performance at the recent Pan Am Aquatics Artistic Swimming Championships in Florida. The winning team consists of Sarnia’s Larissa Loucks (far right in foreground) with Cassandra Lefebvre, Simone Radom, Fannie Hebert, Nadia Crits, Evelyn Goddard, Karen Gu and Rosalie Jean. (Submitted photo)

Loucks, who has been training since she was seven years old, has had a standout year with the Waterloo Region Artistic Swimming Club.

In May, she won gold at the Canadian Artistic Swimming Championships in Calgary. And in June, she was selected as one of 18 on Canada’s junior national team going to the Pan Am Games.

For six weeks, she trained intensely with her team in Montreal before heading to Florida to compete Aug. 10-13.

“It was a lot of fun training all summer,” said Loucks who is going into Grade 12 at Northern Collegiate.

“Overall, it was a great experience and I met a lot of friends from across Canada. But it was definitely intense.”

The team trained six days a week from 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

“I’ve been through a lot of training but never that many hours for that long,” said Loucks.

In a few weeks, she returns to school and begins training again with the Waterloo club several times a week.

“I’m not ready to stop swimming after this summer’s experience,” said Loucks. “Now I want to make the team for next year and keep working toward my goals.”

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