Hall of Famer
Inducted in 2006
Coach, national synchronized swimming team
Coached Sylvie Frechette for 18 years, including gold medal win at Olympics in Barcelona
The name Julie Sauve and synchronized swimming are inextricably linked in Canada. Sauve was involved in synchro for some 31 years, most importantly as the coach to Sylvie Frechette. Sauve began as a young swimmer, competing for the Club Aquatique Montréal Olympique (CAMO) at national and international events. When Synchro Canada inaugurated a national program in 1982, Sauve was one of the first coaches it hired. She remained as a coach at CAMO for 31 years. It was at CAMO that she first met Frechette, and for some 18 years the pair worked together, Sauve the coach turning the young woman into a world champion. Frechette rose to prominence at the 1986 and 1990 Commonwealth Games where she won gold medals each time, and in 1991 she became the number-one ranked synchro swimmer in the world. It was at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, however, that the pair made their mark. Frechette won gold with a routine that showed the world just how fine was Sauve's talent as a choreographer (Sauve's sister, Denise, was her assistant at those Olympics). Perhaps the most important aspect of that victory, however, was not the swim itself in competition but events that occurred in the days leading up to Barcelona. Frechette had been undefeated in solo for the previous three years, but just a week before the Games were to begin Frechette’s boyfriend committed suicide. Shattered, Frechette turned to Sauve, who refused to let the swimmer's lifelong dream be ruined. They got back into the water almost immediately, and Sauve was able to get Frechette back on track emotionally and psychologically for a gold-medal performance. In addition to working with Frechette, Sauve coached the duet of Penny and Vicky Vilagos to a silver medal at Barcelona. The pair also won the Canadian championship seven times under Sauve's guidance and was the first to receive a score of perfect 10 at the 1980 Swiss Open Championships. Sauve remained part of the national coaching program for 24 years until her retirement. When the World Swimming Championships came to Montreal in 2005, Sauve was enlisted to promote the event in and around the city.