Fill Me In
Following Geraldine Narvaez’s departure in August after a two-year tenure, the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) has appointed Anastasia Gousteva as its new head coach for artistic swimming.
Who is she?
The 45-year-old Belarusian is an ex-artistic swimmer herself and a former junior athlete. She represented the Soviet Union from 1982 to 1991, and later on competed for Belarus from 1991 to 1998 at the Fina World Championships and European Championships.
As a coach, she has worked with national teams for Canada from 2010 to 2016, and Greece from 2005 to 2009. She led Canadian duet Marie-Pier Boudreau Gagnon and Elise Marcotte to fourth place at the 2012 London Olympics.
Gunning for the gold
Gousteva will be working with gold medal hopefuls Debbie Soh and Miya Yong of the artistic swimming team. The duet has already made their mark in Southeast Asia with their performances at the 2015 and 2017 SEA Games and are looking to achieve greater things in the years ahead.
They have set their sights on becoming the first Singaporeans to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in their category and would also like to compete at the 2022 Asian Games.
Gousteva has her work cut out for her for the team. Artistic swimming was omitted from the SEA Games schedule in the Philippines last year, but should the category make a return to SEA Games in Hanoi next year, she will need to ensure the team retains its top spot in the region should they want to qualify for the Olympics.
But the Singapore Swimming Association is confident in Gousteva’s abilities. “Anastasia, with her wealth of experience coaching Olympic teams and a proven track record at international competitions, will build on this and take Singapore artistic swimming to even greater heights,” said Steve Chew, vice-president of artistic swimming at SSA.
Ties to Singapore
Gousteva shares a connection with the Singapore team. She had previously worked with the team’s former consultant coach, the late Julie Sauve, as assistant coach for the Canadian national team.
Speaking with The Straits Times, Soh said that Ms Sauve, who passed away in April this year, had spoken highly of Gousteva previously. “Before Julie left us, she spoke of a coach who had been her assistant for six years under the Canadian Olympic team. We didn’t know who it was yet at that time, but I do know that Anastasia was spoken highly of by Julie,” she said.