Canada Artistic Swimming (CAS) has named Anna Voloshyna, current USA assistant coach and former Ukrainian national team athlete, as the next head coach of its senior national team.
She will begin full-time duties in her new role on February 19, right after the World Championships in Doha, which she will still be attending alongside the US team.
Ambitious and driven, she envisions a trajectory for Canada to reclaim its standing among the top five nations in the sport while emphasizing an athlete-first approach.
“I think Canada has everything to get back to the podium,” she said. “My priorities will be to get to know the athletes well and to establish stability for the season. I want to build very good relations based on trust between me and the athletes. I can see the potential and talent in this team, I really look forward to getting started.”
Becoming head coach of a senior national team is a dream come true for Voloshyna, and it occurring in Canada is doubly significant. Indeed, she recognizes it was Canada’s performances at the Olympic Games that opened her eyes to the possibilities of artistic (then synchronized) swimming.
“When I was little, I was always so impressed by Canada’s routines, especially during the 1996 and 2000 Olympics,” she said. “For me, the Canadian team was different from the Russian and Chinese styles. What I love about my sport is being an artist, not just doing the traditional moves to music. I fell in love with their choreography, it was all new and few countries had this approach at the time. Canada was one of the first to develop choreography that tells a story, so the country has always had a special place in my heart.”
It is yet to be determined as to whether the 32-year-old will be in the Paris Olympics with Canada, as the country has yet to qualify. The Doha World Championships are a last-chance qualifier for the nation in both team and duet. Canada can earn a berth in both by finishing among the top five countries not already qualified in the team event. If the team doesn’t make it, the duet does have another chance at securing a spot separately.
After serving as a consultant in Ukraine and Mexico, Voloshyna was named head coach of the USA junior national team in June 2019. A year later, she moved up to the position of assistant coach on the senior national team, ahead of the 2021 season.
In 2023, she notably coached Kenneth Gaudet in the male solo events, helping him secure two historical medals at the World Championships. She also choreographed the acrobatic team routine that won silver at this competition.
Once she arrives in Montreal, Voloshyna will work alongside her former Ukrainian teammate Yelizaveta (Lyza) Yakhno, who has been part of Canada’s coaching staff since 2022. The two notably won two bronze medals in duet at the World Championships in 2017.
A 2016 Olympian, Voloshyna is also a 10-time World Championships medalist, a 15-time European medalist, and a two-time European Champion.
Canada Artistic Swimming had parted way with its previous head coach Gabor Szauder in June 2023. The federation had subsequently named Kerri Morgan as interim head coach and kept Yakhno on as assistant coach.
At that time, CAS didn’t provide an explanation for Szauder’s departure, but did Monday in a statement: “Our focus on providing a safe and welcoming environment for athletes is unwavering. Regrettably, in our efforts to meet the necessary government safe sport requirements, we were unable to reach agreements with the previous head coach, leading to Mr. Szauder’s departure on June 14, 2023. While challenging, this decision was imperative for the future of sport in Canada.”
ARTICLE BY CHRISTINA MARMET
Cover photo: Canada Artistic Swimming
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