Canada’s free team routine, Fire & Ice
3 March 2016
Olympic Artistic Swimming
The silent and frozen calm of winter –Ice cracks like thunder under our feet
In the distance, the glow of a small fire promises warmth
Hearts pound as we race toward the flames…
And relief from the frigid North!
Canada’s free team routine, Fire & Ice, is an innovative departure from previous ones – taking as its inspiration something very personal to the athletes – being Canadian.
With its frosty and blazing musical depiction of winter in the North, it examines the contrast between the harshness of the weather in the Canadian North with the warmth of the spirit of the Canadian people.
The development of the free routine underwent the same three steps as the technical routine, to analyze the competition, strategize on findings of the performance analysis and synthesize the key learnings into a stronger end result.
As part of the strategy, exciting and difficult acrobatic highlights have been built into the storyline. The first highlight sees the flames (flyer) exploding out of the water, tumbling twice forward and diving into the water. Another sees flames climbing the ice mountain and reaching out longingly from the frozen land into the open sky, while a third highlight shows the fire rising through a crack in the ice and vaulting over to other side, heating those around it on its way.
Technically the routine is superior. Based on the scientific analysis of the top teams at the 2015 World Championships, this program pushes the limits of the aspects of performance measured and quantified following Kazan. Artistically, it is a sophisticated performance. Blending music composed especially for the routine, Team Canada’s music designer Hugo Chouinard added in additional music tracks, variations and sound effects to create musical magic. To perfectly synchronize the music, members of the team performed the routine dryland in the music studio to allow for the precise beat of music to be on an exact hand, arm, leg or acrobatic movement.
Once the teams had the story line, music and elements created, there was lots of work ahead. They were conscious that to be synchronized in the water, their fitness had to be at the same level across all team members. The teams worked with a strength and conditioning coach to improve their already high fitness levels, and to give them additional height out of the water on their movements. Other experts in nutrition, planning, physiotherapy, and gymnastics came alongside to work on specific areas with the team.
“There is so much to talk about in this routine. It is an extremely difficult, physically challenging number. Hypoxia, technical skill execution, creative movements, dynamic highlights, all make for a presentation that is super charged emotionally” says Head Coach Meng Chen. “I believe everyone will enjoy the Canadian passion in the routine, feel the connection, and love each meaningful action and hybrid. In Canada, we are living it!”