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SLAM! 1998 COMMONWEALTH GAMES


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  • Tuesday, September 15, 1998

    Valerie's the toast of 'Belles

    By RYAN PYETTE -- Calgary Sun
      Valerie Hould-Marchand, a Quebecker who trains at Lindsay Park Sports Centre with the Calgary Aquabelles, continued Canada's domination of Commonwealth Games synchronized swimming by winning gold in the solo event yesterday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
     And Michelle Calkins, senior coach of the Aquabelles and Hould-Marchand's coach for the past year-and-a-half, was thrilled to hear that her star grabbed gold.
     "I wish I could be there to see it, but there wasn't enough funding to send me over (to Kuala Lumpur)," said Calkins from her Calgary home. "Valerie has such a feel for the music, she's so musically gifted, and she's been in synchro since age three. I'm very proud of her."
     About 18 months ago, Hould-Marchard and her mother/coach Chantal agreed that the road to gold ran through Calgary's Lindsay Park.
     Calkins, a coach since retiring as world synchro champion in 1978, and Aquabelles technical director Debbie Muir, head synchro coach for the Australian national synchro team competing in Kuala Lumpur, have coached such Canadian synchro superstars as Michelle Cameron and Carolyn Waldo.
     "A lot of the inspiration for the routines come from Valerie herself, we just work hard on the details," said Calkins. "And it's so nice to see her win at the Commonwealth Games. It's such a perfect environment for success to breed more success."



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