Synchro team set for Olympics bow

08 August 2012 / 13:23

History will be made on Thursday when Great Britain compete in the synchronised swimming team event in the Olympics for the first time.

Synchro was first included on the Olympic programme in Los Angeles in 1984 and 12 years later the team event was introduced, replacing the duet and solo although they were then reinstated in the subsequent Games in Sydney. In the four Games that the team event has been included, there has been no British involvement.

Synchro has made great strides in Britain over the last few years, mainly since Biz Price was appointed national performance director in 2007 and the high performance centre at Aldershot was established.

Already competing at international level on little training were Jenna Randall and Olivia Federici, the most high-profile synchronettes in Britain. In 2006 they were fourth in the duet at the Commonwealth Games while Randall took silver in the solo.

The pair remain the flagbearers in this country and came a highly-creditable ninth in the duet at the Aquatics Centre on Tuesday, four years after failing to reach the Beijing final.

They are the only ones of the eight-strong team to have competed at an Olympics and they will be the experienced heads when they all take to the water for the technical routine and for the Peter Pan-inspired free routine a day later.

Federici said: "It will be really exciting for them to join us on the team and feel the crowd and give our best performance. They've been watching so they have been able to see how it is and see the atmosphere which is great for them. But also is it too loud? Does it make them nervous?

"But for us it definitely made it even better - the boost gave us more confidence so it was really great."

The pair have been issuing advice to their less experienced team-mates, telling them not to put too much stress upon the fact it is an Olympics.

Randall said: "The most important thing we have told them is that it is another competition. For many years we've been doing so many competitions together as a team so they've experienced World Championships. So it's just going in with the same mindframe - that we do our same competition warm-up and it is just another competition.

"We're really excited to go out there and perform and take another step up again."

Price has overseen the progress of the sport in this country with participation numbers increasing year on year, something she expects will have a knock-on effect internationally in years to come.

Describing Randall and Federici as "very good role models who can teach from experience", Price has no fear for her Olympic first-timers.

She said: "They are really good, very excited. The first week we came in for four or five days so they could get over the woo-woo factor of the Olympics and train in the environment and then took them back to Aldershot to train for four of five days to remain focused and then come back when the duet were competing.

"The mood in the camp is excellent, the athletes are focused. We tend to train more than a lot of sports I think to keep the synchronisation, the technical skill there and not drop the fitness level because if we drop that the routines are too difficult to get correct."