Paragon Awards Presented By
Ulla Soili Marjatta Lucenius
2016 Paragon Award / Synchronized Swimming
Ulla is a native of Finland and is fluent in Finnish, English, and Swedish and also speaks German. She is a specialty nurse who in addition has studied mathematics, physics, statistics, education and physical education. All of which came in handy when she became “bitten” by the synchro bug.
Ulla entered the aquatics family as a speed swimmer, and her speciality was the backstroke. Throughtout her career Ulla has served all members of the Finnish aquatics family in various leadership capacities. For example, from 1980-2012, Ulla served as president, secretary general or board member of the following swimming clubs: Kuopion Uimaseura, Helsingin Uimarit and Vantaan Uimarit. Since 2013 Ulla has been serving on the board of the Vantaan Pyorre Swim Club.
In 1970 the Scandinavian Championships were held in Kuopio, Finland. This is where Ulla was first exposed to the sport of synchronized swimming. During the 1980’s with two toddlers in hand, Ulla traveled to different competitions and clinics to study the sport. Although Ulla never actually coached synchronized swimming, with her knowledge of movement, anatomy and physics, she produced theoretical materials, and she is a tutor and mentor for Level IV Coaching Education (out of V). She has instilled her love of synchro in her daughter Iris, the National Coach of Finland.
Ulla’s quick wit and excellent analytical skills have made her a popular instructor for FINA, LEN and Olympic Solidarity Clinics. She has conducted 60 clinics in 45 countries and on every continent.
Ulla served on the FINA - TSSC from 1992 - 2008, and served as its Chair from 2005 - 2008. She is best known for formalizing the FINA Judges’ Schools during her tenure as Chair of the FINA-TSSC. She worked tirelessly to make certain that the schools were a success, designing the curriculum and traveling to every continent to institute them. During 2007-2008 Ulla conducted 13 FINA Judges’ Schools.
Ulla officiated at the 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. She served as Chief Referee at the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2007 and 2009 World Championships, the 2006 and 2008 Junior World Championships and the 2006 World Trophy.
Ulla has also served the worldwide synchro family as a FINA Evaluator. Between 1995 and the present, Ulla has travelled to every corner of the globe to evaluate FINA judges at more than 50 competitions in 27 countries.
Ulla has been on the LEN-TSSC since 1990, and she is currently serving as its Chair. She has held this position since 2012.
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