Jon, Liz, Robyn, Clare, Rianna and I travelled down to Aldershot this week to meet the GB synchronised swimming team and learn the basics of the sport. The team trains at the Garrison Sport Centre which is a magnificent facility owned by the Army and we were lucky enough to watch both the GB team and GB pair go through their practice routines. When you see it live you realise that the sport is about far more than synchronisation (which counts for approximately 30% of the marks) and that it’s phenomenally athletic. The sport is scored based on what happens above the water level which means the swimmers concentrate on getting as high out of the water as possible and performing every conceivable move. Think ice dancing without any firm base to push off from (they’re not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool.)
We got some great footage of their routines which, unfortunately, we can’t show you at this stage as it’s all a secret until 2012. Suffice it to say that it’s all pretty spectacular – and that the swimmers work incredibly hard at it. Their typical day is:
7.00am-8.00am : core activation and flexibility
8.00am-9.30am : speed swimming training
9.30am-12.30pm : synchro training
2.30pm-5.00pm : more synchro training
Having been wowed by the professionals, we started own training with Adele Carsen (High Performance Manager for Synchronised Swimming). After a warm up, we moved onto the first crucial issue – how to wear a nose clip. Adorned with pink nose clips we then learnt some basic moves – sculling to keep us afloat and moving ; the tub ; rotating in the tub position ; backward somersaults and, finally, sinking with one leg straight up in the air. The six of us then performed a routine combining all these elements and, with the obvious exception of yours truly, I think we did pretty well. However, you can judge for yourself by watching the video at the end of this blog post.
It really was a fantastic day and, although it’s a woman only sport at the Olympics, I’d have no hesitation in recommending the sport to everyone. Many, many thanks to Adele and the GB team!
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