Nancy Liu will be spending much of her summer holidays in the water but it won’t be at a beach or lake.
The 14-year-old rising star with the Pacific Wave Synchronized Swim Club has been named to the Canadian Artistic 13-to-15 National Team that will be competing at the inaugural FINA Youth Artistic Swimming World Championships in Slovakia — Aug. 28 to Sept. 1.
Liu will join her Canadian teammates for preparation camp in Ontario later this month then leave for Slovakia on Aug. 20.
There will be another five-day camp with Team Slovakia before the championships get underway in Samorin.
The soon-to-be Grade 9 student at Richmond Christian was the lone B.C. athlete named to the 10-member Canadian team following a season-long evaluation process that concluded with a training camp at the Olympic Games Pool in Montreal last month. Only the top 24 swimmers in the country were invited.
She had made the trip back east with her coach Meng Chen — the former senior national team coach who wasn’t part of the Synchro Canada evaluation staff.
Liu was notified of her selection via email after she had returned home.
“I had to go home with it still being a mystery,” Liu smiled. “To be honest, I had told myself don’t expect to make it.
“People had their own coaches coaching them. I didn’t have a coach that was up there. Meng was off on the side so I was looking over to her all the time. That’s how I survived the week.”
Liu had a good idea she would be among the 24 invited to the Montreal after being ranking 12th in a compulsory figures competition among the top eligible swimmers in the country. She competed at Canadian Championships in Kamloops then was off to an international competition in Austria before learning of her national team camp invite.
The athletes stayed at Concordia University and Liu made nightly phone calls to Meng about her progress and what she needed to work on.
“I was expecting it to be hard. That moment when I first saw the Olympic Pool I just couldn’t believe my eyes,” Liu continued. I was just taking in everything because I was thinking I may never come back here again. Who knows!
“Once the training started, it was back to business. I was pushing very hard. We were split into three teams and they told us not to be suspicious about it. They had three coaches working with us and two more on the side evaluating.”
The journey that has taken her career to this point began a few years ago when she joined Pacific Wave and the club saw her potential thanks to a background in gymnastics and figure skating. She was aged up to older training groups and placed fifth in 11-and-12-year-old solos at the 2017 Canadian Espoir Championships. She has been working with Pacific Wave’s junior group this past season.
“She has lots of strengths from the previous activities she has done but she has also worked really hard to get where she has. I have seen the process. said Rosilyn Tegart, Pacific Wave’s Provincial Stream Coordinator.