Dip­ping into syn­chro medal suc­cess

Rotorua Review - - MOTORING - BENN BATHGATE

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.’’

SUNLIVE

Rhi­an­non Mabey and Ca­tri­ona Robert­son in sync.

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