Synchro event 'priceless experience'

20 April 2012 / 08:27

National performance director Biz Price believes competing at the Olympic qualification event at the Aquatics Centre this week offers Great Britain's synchronised swimmers priceless experience ahead of a home Games.

Britain have already qualified as hosts but they have chosen to take part in the five-day competition, which doubles as the test event, with the Games just 98 days away.

They competed in the team technical routine on Thursday, and Price said: "The team is the critical one for me because the athletes have never competed in an environment with this type of pressure before, so for us it's good they got to go through this whole process so they can learn from it."

The technical routine requires teams of eight to perform a number of predetermined elements in a set order. They are then marked separately on execution and overall impression and the total will be combined with their free routine score on Saturday to determine an overall result.

Russia unsurprisingly topped the board. Included in their ranks is Natalia Ischenko, who has been dubbed 'Phelps in a skirt' given her constant medal-winning exploits. But such is the Russian team's strength, Ischenko was a reserve as they scored 97.700 points ahead of Spain and Japan, while Britain were eighth (86.600).

For Price, competing at the Olympic venue this week offers invaluable exposure to what they can expect in the summer, especially given Jenna Randall and Olivia Federici are the only team members to have competed at a Games.

Price added: "It's quite a young team. We have goals here for 2012 but also for 2016 so with the development of the whole team this really was an important step for us to do. And we'll learn from what went well and what didn't go well and do a better job on Saturday."

For the likes of Asha Randall and Federici, competing 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."