Club Success Stories
We have had many successes
with members becoming Great Britain team members and Midland District champions.
Five of our most successful girls in recent years tell their stories below.
started synchronised swimming in 2005 when I was eight years old, I was in my
first team at the age of nine and since then I was determined to go all the way.
Throughout my time there I have been successful winning a number of gold and silver
and bronze medals with many brilliant team mates but mostly in the regional competitions.
One of my team mates had been successful for trialling for the England Talent
Squad and competed abroad twice. In 2009 at the National competition I also wanted
to try and be chosen to trial (I had to be in the top three in twelve and under's
and the top sixteen in 13/14) so my aim was top three. I was nervous but worked
really hard. The year before I had come eighteenth so I was a little bit anxious.
I came 6th and because I was in the under 12 I did not qualify which really upset
me but made me even more determined to succeed. So in 2010 I spent most of my
free time doing flexi work concentrated on my speed and core strength. It was
hard and stressful fitting in early morning training, school and growing piles
of homework but I managed it. So that year at nationals with a new set of figures
I did all of my figures well and luckily I came seventh so I was able to trial.
I knew I had a lot of work to do and I was really nervous because I didn't
really know any of the other girls trialling, I had only seen them at the national
competition. It was then a trip to London for a two and a half day trial. I didn't
know what to expect so I was really nervous. In the trials they tested our speed,
stamina, core, flexibility, and synchronisation and how well we worked as a team.
The trials was a great experience and I meet a lot of new people who now are my
good friends. The head coach Kate saw some potential in me and I got in! I was
invited to all the other training camps. Now I was in the squad the aim was to
get into the team.
After many camps and a lot of weeks away from home I
found out that I had made it in the team and I was swimming in the team representing
England. I felt amazing and that I had made my parents. my club and my coaches
proud. The first competition was in Croatia. It was amazing to watch all the other
countries train and see how good everyone was, it really motivated me to work
harder because I wanted to do well but there was so many girls there. After figures
I found out that I came 7th in the England squad which was good for my first international
competition. We watched the solo's and duet's which were amazing and gave me a
lot of inspiration. Then it was our turn to swim. I was terrified but it was over
quickly and the buzz was amazing. I couldn't have wished for a better experience.
The England team came 3rd which was amazing, the first medal won internationally
in our age group in a very long time. We all did really well.
A week later
it was back to training for the Comen cup in Italy. It was during that time that
we had the honour of swimming at the Olympic pool performing a display at the
'one year to go' celebration. The pool was amazing but a little bit chilly! We
were meeting Olympians and eating lunch with them. It was amazing. After a lot
of walk throughs for our unfinished team we performed and it was the best experience
ever and the buzz from the crowd was brilliant. We went straight from the Olympic
pool to Aldershot where we continued training for Italy.
For the comen
cup I was chosen as a reserve which was still great to be there as I got to do
figures as well. In figures I came 4th out of England which was a huge leap from
last time and even though I didn't do the team I felt like I had achieved a lot
more. Unfortunately the team didn't qualify an our journey ended there but we
still enjoyed watching the other countries train and we all loved the after-party
where the Egyptians took over with their belly dancing which was really fun. This
was also an unforgettable experience.
To end my journey with the England
talent squad I was invited to trial with the GB girls for the 2012 Olympics. It
was obvious that I wasn't going to get in but it was unforgettable. In the short
period of time learned so much and it inspired me to work harder and become better.
Watching the GB girls train was engrossing and they worked so hard. Trialling
was such an incredible experience and made me work harder.
2011 was such
an amazing year for me in synchro, I have learnt so much and I can't wait to learn
more and become better. I'm really looking forward to 2012.
I started swimming in the summer of 2001 aged 9 years. My first
achievement was coming 1st in figures in the Warwickshire Age Groups in 2002 and
then the following year I was 12 and under champion. 2003 was the first time I
qualified to swim my solo at the National Age Groups and I came 5th.
May 2007 I took part in the Junior GB trials not expecting very much. However,
I came 12th and therefore was invited to train with the Junior GB squad on an
intensive 5 week training camp at the High Performance Centre in Aldershot.
target at the National Age Groups in 2007 was to finish in the top 6 - I actually
managed to achieve 6th place which meant I had qualified for the second round
selection for Junior GB team. I was selected to the team and training started
with a 4 week intensive camp at Aldershot followed by the Junior European Championships
in Angers, France. The team came 10th. During this time I was also studying for
my GCSEs. On return from this competition I then sat my exams which were then
followed by a further 1 week of training in Aldershot and 2 weeks in Sicily. This
was followed by the Junior World Championships in St Petersburg, Russia. Although
we only came 16th out of 17 we had improved so much since the Europeans, apparently
the Russians were impressed.
In the National Age Groups 2008 my target
was to get a medal - I achieved 3rd place in the figures. Again my finishing place
meant I was through to the second round selection for Junior GB team. I qualified
and training began with 5 weeks intensive training at Aldershot followed by the
Junior Europeans in Gloucester. It felt great to be in front of a home crowd.
Both the combo and free team routines finished 9th in the finals. This was a good
achievement because we had to adapt the routines and substitute a reserve due
to an injury. I was also very pleased with my figure result - 92nd out of 168
and 3rd in the GB team.
The training at this level is very hard and involves
getting up at 6.00 a.m. every morning and training until 5.00 p.m. with a maximum
of 1 hour for lunch. We did speed swimming, land warm up, stretching, a lot of
lengths underwater with team figures added on the end but without coming up for
a breath! I have enjoyed my achievements but success can only be achieved if you
are prepared to put in a lot of hard work and listen to your coach. The main thing
overall is to also enjoy the sport.
Last December I went to Oxford to try to get into the England
Talent Squad for my second year. We had to do figures, learn and short routine
and perform it, and flexibility. There were over 40 of us there and I was very
nervous. I didn't think I would get in because they were only taking 12, so I
forgot about it over Christmas and I was surprised when I found out that I was
At the first training camp, we started to learn a routine, because
the aim is to compete at the Comen Cup in Serbia in August. The Head Coach is
Jo Bean (from Trafford) and there are 2 other coaches: Louisa Chadwick and Annabelle
Surch-Williams. They are very nice and really motivating.
us at Easter and they told me I was 9th - so I was excited because it meant that
I could be the reserve for the Serbia team (2 people won't be going and I thought
that I might be one of them). They re-ranked us again in May and now I'm in the
middle 4, which is even better - because I could be in the team!
we will be going to Aldershot for 2 weeks and will stay at the barracks. They
are also going to monitor our progress for the rest of the year.
hard work, but it's fun and I've made some very good friends while I have been
there from all over the country. We don't just swim. We went to see Hannah Montana
at the cinema and at Easter we stayed in a hotel. Normally I stay with a family
from Trafford Synchro, so I feel very at home there.
We train at the Commonwealth
pool and it's 5.1 metres deep - so don't lose your noseclip!
I became a member of the City of Birmingham Synchronised Swimming
Club at the age of seven after my sister had joined a few years before.
first achievement was becoming Warwickshire 12 and under champion at the age of
nine. I have come first in my age group in all events every year since. I have
also been Midland Age Group Champion several times as well as Midland Junior champion
at the age of fourteen. I was selected to be a member of the Midland Inter-district
Squad in 2003 when my sister and I competed as the Junior Duet for the district.
In 2004 I was selected to be the Junior Soloist for the Midlands, as well as being
in the duet and the team.
From my placing in the National Age Groups in
2004, I was selected to be part of the England Junior Development Squad in 2005.
After further trials I travelled with the team to Croatia to compete where we
came first. At the end of 2005 I took part in the trials for the Junior Great
Britain Squad for 2006. I was successful and began training with the GB squad
that Christmas. I then travelled round the country for National Camps, with training
most weekends and every holiday, in preparation for the Junior European Championships
in Bonn in May. After trials within the squad, I was selected to be in the travelling
squad and one of the eight to swim the team.
Training continued towards
the Junior World Championships in October in China. We travelled there two weeks
before the event for an intensive pre-competition camp at the British Olympic
Holding Camp facilities in Macau. We were placed 13th in the team event, the best
ranking Britain has had in thirteen years. In December last year, I took part
in the National Age Groups once again. I was hoping to get a medal in the figure
event as I had been ranked within the top three juniors my age in the GB squad
throughout the year, but I knew this was ambitious. However, I was delighted to
discover I had won the figure event becoming 15-17 National Figure Champion.
I first started synchro when I was ten. I loved swimming, and
my sister had already been doing synchro for a while, so I decided to follow in
her waves!! For the first few years it was all about having fun and learning the
basics. It wasn't until I was thirteen and came fifth in 13/14 National Age Groups
that everything began to take off. The result meant that I qualified for a two-week
training camp with one of America's top coaches. It was the first time I really
realised what it would be like to train full time, and what it would take to get
to the top!
A couple of years later, I qualified for the Midland district
squad. Then, in 2000, with Ali's help, I won National Junior Champs, made it through
the assessments, and qualified for the National Junior team. The first year swimming
for GB was a massive learning curve. We would train for 20-25 hours during the
week, and then have training camps every weekend, and during the holidays. It
was hard work, especially fitting training around my GCSE's, but it was all worth
it!! In June 2000 the team travelled to Bonn in Germany for the Junior European
Championships. It was really exciting seeing all the routines from other countries,
and I can still remember the Russian and Spanish teams, which were amazing!
swam again for GB Juniors in 2001, and this time captained the squad at Junior
Europeans in the Ukraine and Junior Worlds in Seattle, which was a lot of fun.
It was also nice getting to know some of the girls from other countries. I don't
think I'll ever forget walking out to do my solo at Worlds, with the Italian team
cheering for me from the balcony!
After my A levels in 2002, I moved to
Russia to train full time for a year with one of their coaches. I don't think
there was a single day of the whole year when I wasn't exhausted or in pain from
training so hard, but it was all worth it in 2004 when I qualified for the 2004
Olympic duet squad. 2004 was a very busy year, with training camps and competitions
all over the world. In April the duet qualified for the Olympics, but for one
reason or another they decided not to send anyone. That we weren't sent to the
Olympics in 2004 was a massive disappointment, and I retired soon after that.
However, there isn't a single thing I would change. I think synchro in
great sport. It teaches the girls how to work as a team, have grace as well as
fitness, and gives them the opportunity to travel the world! My tips for the top
would be to train hard every session, and listen to Ali. If it weren't for her
none of the above would have happened!!