One of Julie Fabre’s favorite memories from her successful synchro career was competing at U.S. Nationals in the 1990s. Swimming for her native France, Fabre was excited to see some of the best synchro swimmers in the world.
“I still remember the competition like yesterday,” Fabre said. “The U.S. team was the best, and I was impressed and amazed by all these athletes: (1996 Olympic gold medalists) Becky Dyroen, Jill Sudduth, Heather Simmons, Tammy Cleland, Heather Pease, etc. And the amazing coaches, Chris Carver and Gail Emery. These kinds of memories follow you all the time.”
Fabre hopes to add to the United States’ strong synchronized swimming tradition as the new coach of the U.S. Senior National Squad. She began training with several swimmers in the Bay Area in October, with the full squad to come together in January 2014.
Fabre brings an impressive resume to the position, having been the coach of France’s senior national team since 2003. Fabre, a native of Nice, France, coached French duets at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. She swam for France’s 13-15, junior and senior national teams in the ‘90s and helped lead her country to a fifth-place team finish at the 1996 Olympics.
'That was amazing. The Olympic Games are something different than any other competition," she said. "And it was the first time for the team routine at the Olympics. I was so proud to represent my country. For us it was hard because we had to change our routine a month before the competition. Having the chance to compete at the Olympics is just a gift."
Fabre soon found coaching to be the ideal way to extend her passion for the sport.
“Coaching is amazing. You are helping young women achieve their goal,” she said. “We all have the same passion for synchro; you are just a guide. Participating in a sport at this high level teaches you a lot about yourself – how to push your limits, coping with failure, fair play, how to work with people who are different than you, how to manage stress, etc. What you learn will help you all your life.”
After a decade with France’s national team, Fabre was ready to take her experience to the U.S. once again. She’ll draw on the memories of that long-ago competition at U.S. Nationals to hopefully lead the U.S. back to the top.
“I have seen the U.S. at the top level, and today I have the opportunity to try to go back to the top with this wonderful team, in this amazing country” she said. “I have a lot of respect for USA Synchro’s people. I think that there is a lot of talent here, and as a coach that’s what I need to be motivated.”