Russian synchronised swimmers impress

19 April 2012 / 18:07

With the 2012 Olympics looming large on the horizon, the Aquatics Centre is playing host to some of the world's best synchronised swimmers as they look to book a return ticket to London in the summer.

With eight team slots available and five - including Great Britain as hosts - already allocated, it means the pressure is on the likes of world and Olympic champions Russia to qualify.

Thursday's technical routine required the teams of eight to perform a number of predetermined elements in a set order. They were then marked separately on execution and overall impression and the total combined with their free routine score on Saturday for an overall result. Russia unsurprisingly topped the board.

The Russian team includes Natalia Ischenko who has been dubbed 'Phelps in a skirt' given her constant medal-winning exploits. Such is the Russian team's strength, she was a reserve as they scored 97.700 points.

Spain, world championship bronze medallists last year, were second 1.600pts behind with Japan third. Britain have already qualified for the Games but opted to compete this week and came in eighth (86.600).

For the likes of Asha Randall and Olivia Federici it gave them the chance to experience performing in front of a large home crowd and eliminate any element of surprise that may bring before the summer.

Randall said: "It was a really great feeling, having a home crowd cheer us on - it was great."

Federici, who had to withdraw from Wednesday's duet after partner Jenna Randall sprained a wrist in training, said: "It's like a background buzz but I think we are all pretty good at getting in the zone when we are ready to compete."

On how support can help in synchro, the Commonwealth silver medallist said: "I think it's the fact this is a home crowd. A lot of these people, who have practised synchro at their clubs, have watched us grow up and develop.

"So to be able to perform in front of them is a big boost for us and we want to show how hard we've been working."