Back into the pool

- February 22, 2011

Mallory Coughlin Allison Batan
Synchronized swimming duet partners Mallory Coughlin and Allison Balan. (Nick Pearce Photo)

C A N A D A   G A M E S

The thought of competing in front of family and friends in their hometown was enough to coax Allison Balan and Mallory Coughlin out of their athletic retirement.

Having competed for more than half their young lives in synchronized swimming, the duet partners had enough of competition and were ready to devote themselves to their university studies.

Until, that is, it was announced that the 2011 Canada Winter Games would be held in Halifax. Even better, a new state-of-the-art athletic complex compete with three full-sized gymnasiums, indoor track, fitness centre and a 25-metre competition pool would be ready in time for the national competition.

“We competed at the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse and it was an awesome experience,” says Ms. Coughlin. “We thought it would be amazing to have that experience right here.”

And so back to the pool they went. Ms. Balan, 19, a second-year kinesiology student, and Ms. Coughlin, 20, in her second year of neuroscience, train at least three hours a day, five days a week, in and out of the water.

They’re well aware that their sport has its detractors, to which they respond: “Doing a synchronized swimming routine is like doing a 400-metre sprint while holding your breath,” says Ms. Balan, 19, who can swim two lengths of the pool on one breath. “And think of doing that with a smile plastered on your face ... it’s supposed to look like it’s easy, but it’s not easy.”

Like figure skating, sport requires great athleticism, but it’s creative too. For the Canada Games, the young women have come up with a routine performed to music from the movie Beetlejuice.

“It’s creepy and crawly and fun,” says Ms. Coughlin. “We wanted to something more fun than serious for our return to synchro.”

Dalhousie is a proud Sapphire Sponsor of the 2011 Canada Games. For more:

  • Visit our Canada Games website with links to all Games-related Dal News stories
  • Read first-person Games accounts and get Dalhousie results at our blog
  • Contribute your Games photos to our Flickr group


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