Olympic qual­i­fi­ca­tion a tough rou­tine

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - SPORT -

A TRIO of Su­paNova Synchronised Swim­ming Club (SSSC) coaches will com­pete on the world’s big­gest stage af­ter be­ing se­lected for the Aus­tralian Rio Olympics team.

Danielle Ket­tlewell, Water­ford res­i­dent Deborah Tsai and Amie Thomp­son will travel to Brazil in Au­gust hop­ing to im­prove on Aus­tralia’s best-ever sev­enth place fin­ish at the Bei­jing Olympics in 2008.

The women were all born out­side the coun­try – in Canada, Sin­ga­pore and Eng­land – but qual­ify for Aus­tralian cit­i­zen­ship.

“I was still liv­ing in Canada in 2014 when I was ap­proached by Aus­tralia’s as­sis­tant head coach at the time and asked if I wanted to try out for the na­tional team,” Ket­tlewell said.

Tsai and Thomp­son were al­ready in Perth and the women helped Aus­tralia se­cure Olympic qual­i­fi­ca­tion at the Synchronised Swim­ming World Cham­pi­onships in Rus­sia last year.

“The way syn­chro qual­i­fi­ca­tion works is there are five con­ti­nen­tal spots and then the next best three are also se­lected,” Tsai said.

“We were go­ing for the Ocea­nia spot and it came down to hav­ing to beat New Zealand.”

The Aus­tralian team swam sec­ond and had to en­dure a ner­vous wait to find out their fate, with the Ki­wis the 22nd team to take to the pool.

“As a team, we sat in the warm-up pool and watched their swim while all hold­ing hands,” Ket­tlewell said.

“New Zealand had im­proved so much since the we saw them last and we were ner­vous that they might de­feat us.

“But up came the scores and sure enough, we beat them.”

The women had one more hur­dle to clear be­fore stamp­ing their own in­di­vid­ual tick­ets.

“Ear­lier this year, we had two days of Olympic team tri­als at HBF Sta­dium in front of four in­ter­na­tional judges,” Thomp­son said.

“Af­ter the tri­als, the three of us sep­a­rated and agreed to a code – if we got in, we would text each other just a thumbs up, and if we didn’t, just a thumbs down.”

It was thumbs up all round and the three women will travel to Spain later this month to put the fin­ish­ing touches on their two Olympic rou­tines.

“One is a tech­ni­cal rou­tine and one is a free rou­tine,” Tsai said.

“The tech­ni­cal rou­tine has cer­tain el­e­ments that you have to do in a cer­tain or­der and ev­ery­one does those el­e­ments, with your own chore­og­ra­phy made up around that. In the free rou­tine, you can kind of do what­ever you want and it’s a lot more in­ter­est­ing and artis­tic.”

In a sport dom­i­nated by Rus­sia, China and Japan, the women are re­al­is­tic about their Olympic chances.

“We are not look­ing to medal; it’s more about hav­ing the best per­for­mance that we can and do­ing the best that Aus­tralia has ever done,” Ket­tlewell said.

The synchronised swim­ming events run from Au­gust 14 to 19.

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d455239

Aus­tralia’s Olympic synchronised swim­ming coaches Deborah Tsai, Danielle Ket­tlewell and Amie Thomp­son.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.