GB synchronised swimming team targets Rio

12 August 2012 / 13:53

The ground-breaking Great Britain synchronised swimming team said they have put the sport "on the map" with their first Olympic appearance.

Britain's squad are now looking forward to next year's World Championships and Rio de Janeiro to build on the progress they have made in the past few years.

They managed a respectable ninth place in the duets stage of the competition, and sixth in the team stage - in line with targets set by coach Biz Price.

Jennifer Knobbs, 23, said: "As a whole it's gone incredibly well, I think we've definitely put synchro out there and on the map. I'm really happy that it's gone so well for us."

Only two members of the team had previous Olympic experience - Olivia Federici and Jenna Randall competed at Beijing in the duets, coming 14th.

Randall, 23, from Ascot, hopes that appearing as part of a home Olympics will boost the sport's popularity.

"We're hoping because we've had the Olympics in our home town and it's being shown on TV more people will be interested in the sport. Young girls and maybe young boys as well will want to join the sport and will have more people doing synchro in the future."

The team were watched by enthusiastic crowds, including the Duchess of Cambridge for the first day of the team competition.

Yvette Baker, 20, from Sutton Coldfield, who swam in the technical routine, said: "It was really exciting for us to have someone with such a high profile coming to watch us.

"The crowd was really amazing, you could hear them all the time when you were doing the routine which was really great. It was helping us go through it and they were supporting us."

The squad is upbeat about the future.

Reading-born Katie Clark, who at 18 is the youngest member of the team, said: "I'm really excited, I think we're just going to keep on improving in the next four years to Rio, and I think having this Games in our home country is really going to help the sport. People can come along and see it and realise actually, they're real athletes."

The team train for eight to 10 hours per day, six days per week, with up to six hours in the pool at a time.

They perform synchronised moves but also do speed swimming for fitness, and do weight and flexibility training.

Randall's younger sister Asha, 22, said: "Having the Olympics here has been great for our sport. We've got a lot more media coverage from it, it's really good to get our sport out there. The public are seeing it and really enjoying it and realising how hard we work. It's amazing to have had the chance to show what we can really do.

"Our goal is definitely to get medals at Rio, so we'll just go home and train really hard."

Team mate Katie Dawkins, 23, from Bristol, said the young squad can keep improving.

"The World Championships is the big one next year, then there'll be another one of them before Rio. We're a young team and we're hoping to keep improving over the next four years and hopefully medal in Rio."

The team will now be given a two week holiday before competing in Mexico later in the year, and then the World Championships in Barcelona next year.