Singapore's artistic swimming guru Julie Sauve, 67, dies in native Canada
Julie Sauve, who helped chart the rise of Singapore's artistic swimming team in the region, died on Tuesday in her native Canada at the age of 67.
She was most recently the consultant coach of the duet pairing of Miya Yong and Debbie Soh, who were aiming to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
Sauve returned to Canada last week, after the Tokyo Games were postponed to next year. Details of her death were not known.
After winning two golds and a bronze at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, the Republic turned to Sauve, who served as consultant a year later.
At the 2017 Games in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore improved their haul, winning three golds, two silvers and two bronzes, cementing their place as the region's premier artistic swimming team.
Just six years earlier, Malaysia had won all the five golds in Palembang. The sport was not on offer at last year's biennial Games.
Sauve was involved in the sport in her homeland for 35 years, most notably as coach of 1992 Olympic gold medallist Sylvie Frechette. She had also coached Brazil.
Soh, who won three SEA Games golds in 2017, described Sauve as her "second mother", saying: "Julie had so much faith in us even when we didn't, and made the impossible seem possible to us...
"I also think back to the more personal conversations I'd have with her outside training hours, just asking her for advice in life.
"She was more than just a coach, she was practically a second mother to me. She always put her athletes first before herself...
"She will forever be remembered as a legend in our artistic swimming community, and a trailblazer in the sport's history."
Her duet partner Yong reminisced about Sauve's contagious laughter.
Said Yong: "She was really the most understanding and caring coach I've had, the most important belief she held was that athletes always came first...
"Her laughter was contagious in and out of the pool and she laughed at every small thing, even if it wasn't funny.
"She had the most amount of energy amongst all of us and was always the most vibrant person around."
Her Olympic champion protege Frechette also paid tribute to Sauve on Facebook, saying: "To my second mother, my guide, the one who saw me and believed in me, the one who took me by the hand to the highest peak, I love you." - DILENJIT SINGH