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Jean (Millard) Burns

Jean Millard, a city native, joined the Peterborough Ornamental Swim Club shortly after it was formed in 1942, when the sport of synchronized swimming was just becoming known in Canada.

She not so wistfully recalls the daily 5:30 a.m. practice sessions at the ‘Y’ pool, with coach Pansy Forbes, in preparation for the 1948 AAU junior national synchronized swimming championships of the USA, scheduled for Detroit.

In a major upset, Jean teamed with Iris (Forbes) Rielly to bring Peterborough and Canada its first major honours in this sport. These two relatively unknowns splashed their way into synchronized swimming history.

Their victory ushered in an era that was to include many provincial, national and international successes. Jean and other pioneer members of the Peterborough Club paved the way for acceptance of the sport, and inclusion as a popular Olympic competition.

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