London 2012 Q&A: Élise Marcotte

Editors note: As part of the Canadian Sports Media Blog’s coverage of the London 2012 Olympics, I am happy to partner with Alexandre Duval to provide interviews with three of Canada’s Olympians. Alex has kindly provided these three interviews to the Canadian Sports Media Blog. One will appear each day through the Opening Ceremony. Today, synchronized swimmer Élise Marcotte.

Élise was raised in L’Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec, and has been doing synchronized swimming since the age of five. Eighteen years after having picked up that sport, she is still training with an enduring passion under the supervision of Julie Sauvé, head coach of the Canadian national synchronized swimming team, in Montreal.

Élise competed at the Beijing Olympic Games, in 2008. A few days from now, she will jump into the pool to star at the world’s biggest sports event for the second time of her young career. To bring her luck, I decided to ask her seven questions – no more and no less.

Alexandre Duval (AD): Élise, you will be taking part in the Olympic Games for the second time. Which of the lessons that you learned in Beijing are you carrying with you in London?

Élise Marcotte (ÉM): As my second Olympic Games are approaching, I certainly look at things differently. In Beijing, we simply wanted to do better than the 6th rank we had obtained at the 2007 World Aquatics Championships. This year, however, we want to fight in order to be a medal-winning nation, and it will be a real tug of war!

AD: Not only will you be involved in the team competitions, but you will also be one of the two duet swimmers, the other one being Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon. Is there an event for which your hopes are higher?

ÉM: Our chances of going back home with a medal are the same for both events! We have really high hopes for each of our five routines and we want to deliver what our potential allows us to do.

AD: Last year, Canada won the bronze medal in the free combination event at the World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai. This event, however, will not be held at the London Olympic Games. Despite this fact, do you think that the other teams have been taking the Canadians more seriously and that they feel one of the three medals could end up in Canada’s hands instead of their own?

ÉM: Absolutely! At each of the synchronized swimming events we have been involved in lately, other countries have told us how much they thought we had improved and that they knew the fight will be close in London to determine the teams that will mount the podium.

AD: If you and the synchronized swimming team end up winning a medal, will you:
• Cry?
• Faint?
• Jump all over the place hysterically?
• Eat everything that has been prohibited in the past months?
• Party all night?
• Do something else?

ÉM: A little of all of the above, but first and foremost, I will go see my parents and my brother since they will be in the stands watching us in London!

AD: You currently are intensively preparing yourself for the Games. What does a typical day of training look like?

ÉM: We start off in the gym from 6:50 a.m. to 8 a.m. Our trainings differ from one time to the other: cardio, weights, plyometrics, etc. After that, we jump in the water around 8:15 a.m. and we warm up with swimming laps totalling about 1 kilometre.

Then, we do 90 minutes of technical duet training and another 90 minutes of technical team training between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. We have a lunch break from 11:30 to 12 p.m., and we are back in the pool from noon to 3 p.m. for another 90-minute session of free duet training and 90 more minutes of free team training.

At 3 p.m., we get out of the pool and rest for a couple of hours… we get physiotherapy or a massage, if needed!
Just before dinner – that is, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. – we have an “out-of-the-water” training session; we rehearse our routine while staying dry!

From there, we have dinner, we rest, we go to bed, and we start over the next morning!

AD: All of the girls on the Canadian synchronized swimming team are from Quebec! How can you explain such a high concentration of talent in Canada’s francophone province?

ÉM: We actually are very lucky in Quebec because amateur athletes get very good support. Moreover we have grown watching very inspiring role models in synchronized swimming over the past 20 years!

AD: It’s not that I want to force you to think long-term, but… Do you have any clue of what is awaiting you after the London Olympic Games?

ÉM: As to my synchronized swimming career, I will keep swimming for as long as I am passionate about it! With regards to my studies, I will finish my undergrad degree in business administration/marketing in December before undertaking a master’s degree in a related field in January 2013!

About the author :
Alexandre Duval is a blogger for Merlin Assurance Auto. He is also currently completing his master’s degree in political science at the University of Quebec in Montreal. Alexandre also studied in Toronto, in France, as well as in the United States, where he was an NCAA Division I tennis player.

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