About to embark on some new territory in the water -- summer training -- the weekend's Canadian Prairie Invitational synchronized swim meet at the Pan Am Pool held more than just a little significance for Winnipegger Madison McLeod.
The soon-to-be-16-year-old from Winnipeg's Aquatica Synchro Club has her eyes set on bigger challenges ahead and used the "home" CPI weekend for a hefty confidence boost.
McLeod had three winning performances in the meet's junior (16-18 age group) category, scoring top spot in the national stream FINA solo final, narrowly edging Brianna Johnson of Thunder Bay Synchro 61.4333 to 61.3, adding a first with partner Elisa Santin in the national stream duet final and a first in the junior combo final.
McLeod also finished third in figures in the national stream junior FINA.
"I was really happy with the weekend," McLeod said Sunday, at the conclusion of the three-day competition that included more than 180 athletes from clubs from Saskatchewan, Alberta, Winnipeg and Thunder Bay. "I was mostly nervous about the tryouts for the (provincial) team and really hoping to do well in my duet and solo. That was the aim and I'm really happy we were able to accomplish that."
The provincial team is the goal ahead, one that will put the student at Vincent Massey Collegiate into the pool for summer training for the first time in her seven years of synchro. The competitive and training season is normally focused from January to about June.
"Hopefully it will be to make Team 'Toba for the Canada Winter Games," McLeod said. "This will be the first time I'll train in the summer but I'm actually really excited for it."
Team Manitoba's 10 synchronized swimmers will be named in late summer ahead of the 2015 Canada Winter Games to be held in February in Prince George, B.C.
After the formal CPI competition on the weekend, a provincial tryout session was held at Pan Am Pool.
Extended training time and focus will be no problem, McLeod said.
"This is my seventh year," she said. "My sister (Kiersten) started swimming and I had tried lots of other sports but synchro just seemed to be the one I liked the most.
"Right now, it's been five times a week (in the pool) for about 18 hours a week. I'm looking forward to (more of) it this summer."