Ludivine Perrin-Stsepaniuk talks with her swimmers at a recent practice. (Photo courtesy of Ovia Entertainment)
New U.S. 12 & Under National Team Coach Ludivine Perrin-Stsepaniuk hopes her performing career and reignited passion for competitive synchronized swimming will lead to Olympic-caliber athletes by the 2028 Los Angeles Games.
Until recently, Perrin-Stsepaniuk had left synchro competition in her past, enjoying 10 years and 5,000 performances with “Le Rêve – The Dream” in Las Vegas. She had competed for the French national team when she was younger, but when France failed to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games, the funding stopped and Perrin-Stsepaniuk was ready to move on.
“I realized I could not keep doing synchro and providing for myself,” she said. “That’s why I decided to try something new. I was kind of done with competition.”
She auditioned for “Le Rêve,” then in its beginning stages, and instantly loved everything about it. The performers worked out the show “in hiding” in Belgium before taking it to Las Vegas in 2005. She would eventually be named synchro team captain.
“Working with all those performers taught me so much and was exactly what I needed to find my confidence. I wish I would’ve had that confidence when I was a synchronized swimmer.”
She loved learning new things with “Le Rêve.” She watched the acrobats and was soon doing handstands with them. She watched the aerialists and was up on the trapeze between shows.
“I was getting strong and my synchro skills were way better. I wish I had known that when I was swimming,” she said. “My synchro level was better at “Le Rêve” than when I competed at World Championships.”
The course of her synchro career changed again soon after she started volunteering with the Nevada Desert Mermaids. Their coach, Linda Tannenbaum, had assisted Perrin-Stsepaniuk in making arrangements for the French national team, whose members were working out in the area.
“She was looking for someone to help out once a week and I said I could,” Perrin-Stsepaniuk said. “That’s how I got back into synchro – I just fell in love with it again.”
Perrin-Stsepaniuk was also starting her own company, Ovia Entertainment, which offers professional aquatic performers for TV, film, music videos and live events, in addition to training and coaching. When Tannenbaum decided to leave, Perrin-Stsepaniuk was named head coach the Desert Mermaids.
“Everything went very, very fast,” she said. “I always loved to teach and pass along any knowledge I have. I’m always willing to help out because I feel when you see a little girl pointing her toes and seeing how happy she is, it makes me happy. I have that satisfaction, so I really love to be a coach.”
Back in synchro, Perrin-Stsepaniuk met former USA Synchro Executive Director Myriam Glez, who offered her a chance to work with the national teams. She led the national elite camps in summer 2017 and was recently named head coach of the U.S. 12 & Under National Team.
She wants to bring the tools she learned as a performer to both of her teams’ training.
“That’s how I teach my athletes now – I make sure they have good physical preparation,” she said. “And when I create my choreography, I use a lot from my performing career, everything I learned with those directors, I use it and teach it to the girls.”
“I think it’s starting to work. What I’m trying to do is bring a little bit more of the artistic aspect of the sport. We have many, many, many shows here. When the girls come to Las Vegas they get to work with so many different performers and they learn so much from them. You need to have the people wanting to watch a beautiful performance.”
She’s eager to see how the 12U National Team will perform at the UANA Pan American Championships this August in Riverside, Calf.
“I think being in the U.S., it’s going to be nice to have a lot of people coming and cheering for those little girls. We’re hoping that this group will be the Olympic group in 10 years. Our priority is to teach them the right skills but be very smart about the physical preparation. The plan with these girls is to prepare them for that 10-year plan.”
Her Nevada Desert Mermaids have bought into her philosophy as she was recently named West Zone Co-Coach of the Year (along with Irene Hawes). Perrin-Stsepaniuk said she was touched that her swimmers nominated her for the award.
“That was a big surprise. I was very happy that my athletes nominated me. They qualified for nationals and are trying to get closer to the bigger clubs. I think the girls have really improved.
“They all want to compete. They’re passionate about the sport. When they nominated me, it really touched me and motivated me even more.”
Perrin-Stsepaniuk on Ovia Entertainment
“I created the company mainly for entertainment for synchronized swimming events. There are other companies like this in California and Texas and Europe, so I decided to create mine just because I had done that at Le Rêve. There is so much demand in Las Vegas because we have so many conventions. So I thought I could create my own choreography for shows, and that’s what I wanted to do at the end of Le Rêve. We’re also part of music videos and movies. And then after I started coaching I decided to add some camps. We just did a master camp two weeks ago that was amazing. We had a lot of fun.”
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