The Nelson Reflections crossed the finish line with a race-car inspired performance that wowed judges at the Jean Peters Provincial Championship.
Nelson’s synchronized swimming squad took first place for their 13-to-15 team routine that was deemed the best in B.C. during the competition May 17 to 19 in Nanaimo.
The result meant the team also earned a silver medal for their overall performance based on an average score that includes a compulsory figures routine.
Erin Fitchett, who coaches the team with Brooke Madore, said the performance is massive step forward for the club.
“This truly happened because of the passion from the athletes,” said Fitchett.
“This is what they wanted and they set their minds to it. It really came from inside them. That’s the piece of the puzzle you can’t coach. You have to want it, and these girls truly did.”
Nelson’s team routine was in second place after qualifiers heading into provincials. Fitchett said her athletes added four extra Saturday night practices ahead of the competition, which improved their score by five crucial points.
“I think what gave us the edge was the energy,” said Fitchett. “You can smile or you can be happy, and sometimes that might be the difference in what’s happening out there.”
Kaitlyn Fitchett meanwhile won silver in the 16-to-20 age group.
She finished second overall in the solo routine against 10 other athletes, and was eighth in compulsory figures with a personal best score of 58.6327 to win the medal.
Other results included Lauren Strong and Jessica Fitchett, who finished first and second, respectively, in 13-to-15 novice figures. Opal Lewandowski was also sixth overall.
The Reflections’ results are all the more astonishing considering the competition included over 400 athletes from 12 clubs.
The Nelson club began in 1994 but was forced to rebuild after the local pool was closed for parts of 2015 and 2016.
“It’s a pretty good comeback story from not having any club to being on the podium in both events that we competed in,” said Erin Fitchett.
The Reflections will host a year-end show at the Nelson and District Community Complex on June 1. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. ahead of a 6 p.m. start.