Dipping into synchro medal success
You’re holding your breath for three counts of eight, you’re doing complicated gymnastic style moves with a partner or as part of a team of five, it’s set to music and you’re all moving in perfect sync. And you’re all underwater. Rhiannon Mabey, 16, does all of the above, and as the sole Rotorua member of the Tauranga Swimming Club’s synchronised swimming team, has just returned from the 2017 Synchronised Swimming National Championships in Invercargill with two bronze medals and a second placed team ribbon.
Mabey said the competition was tough, but they were confident in the work they had put in over five long years of training.
‘‘There were some really good girls from Invercargill, so it was a bit intimidating,’’ Mabey said.
‘‘But we were pretty confident our routines would place.’’
Mabey’s route to medal success almost stalled at the first hurdle however.
Looking for a new sport she chanced upon synchronised swimming and emailed the Tauranga Swimming Club - the closest team to her home in Rotorua.
That email went unanswered for a year, until a friend suggested they attend the clubs free ‘have a go day’.
‘‘Straight away I was pretty hooked,’’ she said.
‘‘I’ve always really liked the water and swimming, but the rep- etition of swimming was really boring.’’
Mabey said synchronised swimming appealed as it combined the best elements of swimming, flexibility and strength work.
It’s taken drive for Mabey to reach medal winning level too, having to travel to Tauranga three times a week for training, something she admits is a potential stumbling block for chasing the sport further.
‘‘I would love to take this to a higher competitive level but that’s not an option with all the travelling,’’ she said.
However, a university scholarship through the sport may open doors in the future for her.
Mabey said she is already working on routines for the North Island Championships next year and said anyone interested in the sport should ‘have a go day.’
‘‘You really don’t know what it’s about until you’re in the water doing it.’’
Rhiannon Mabey and Catriona Robertson in sync.