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Transition Time: The Spanish Winter Open

29th February 2012

The British Gas GBR Synchronised Swimming Team have just returned from their first competition of the season at the Spanish Winter Open in Barcelona. Team member Asha Randall fills us in on how they got on.

As a team we were excited to compete for the first time this season and show our new Olympic routines internationally.

The atmosphere was high as we arrived at the airport. Everyone couldn’t wait to get to the competition pool in Barcelona and train for the first time with our new routines with all the other countries watching.

We then had to be up at 06:00 to put our hair up in gelatine and to be monitored.

This competition was a first for all of us so we had no idea what the venue would be like. We stayed about about 10 minutes from the pool and walked as a team to and from the venue each day.

It was a very nice centre in Sabadell, Barcelona. The only thing that could fault it was that the pool water wasn’t chlorine based but salt which wasn’t too nice for our eyes as we have to compete and train in the competition pool without our goggles (Thank God for Optrex!).

It was a very short meet. We arrived in Barcelona on Thursday 23rd February, only had one full day of training on the Friday and then the competition started on the Saturday.

Usually for smaller competitions like this we train for at least three days then compete over two. For bigger competitions like Europeans and Worlds we can train officially with the other countries up to a week or two weeks at the venue before the competition starts and then compete over the space of a week or sometimes 10 days.

The night before the competition my roomie Katie Skelton and I went to bed around 21:45 to make sure we were asleep by 22:00.

We then had to be up at 06:00 to put our hair up in gelatine and to be monitored. When we go away to meets or training camps every morning we have to be weighed so we know if we are sticking to our nutritional goals and we are told whether we are in the red or the green.

We then went down for breakfast at 06:30 and had to be ready to leave for the pool at 06:50.

As a synchronised swimmer your days have to be very planned out as the competitions are very close together and you only get a certain amount of training time in the pool before you compete so you have to make sure you're warmed up well and get everything done that’s needed before you walk on and swim.

Tech Day

Saturday was a very good day for the GB Synchros, this was the technical routines day. The technical routine is one with predetermined elements that must be performed in a specific order.

The competition started off with the Team Tech and as a team this was really exciting for all us as it was the first time the international judges would see our new routine and the first time the British team were competing after last year’s World Championships in Shanghai  which was six months ago.

Our NPD (National Performance Director) Biz Price was very happy with our swim and said we moved very well around the pool.

  There was also talk between the judges that
  our choreography had a higher degree of
  difficulty than the Ukrainian team and our
  presentation was marked higher than the
  USA which is amazing to hear as that’s
  something they always excel at.

  The Duet Technical was next and the British
  girls Jenna and Olivia had a very good swim
  and came second to the Ukrainian duet!

  False start

  Sunday was team free day, this day wasn’t
  as strong as the technical day and our swim
  started off with a false start which as a team
  we’ve never experienced before.

We walked on and were in position and the whistle went off from the referee notifying for the music to start...... but it didn’t.

We then heard a double whistle and no-one moved as we weren’t completely sure what that meant. Jenna as team captain then said “don’t move” and then another whistle finally went and the music started!

When we finished Biz told us that there was a problem with our music and we should have relaxed after the double whistle.

Our free routine is much newer than our tech so it’s not as clean and there were a few more individual execution errors in this swim compared to the day before.

Duet Free was very similar to our team swim. It wasn’t as strong as the tech the day before but it is a much harder and challenging routine not to mention about a minute and a half longer.

Moving forward

Obviously there will always be things that we need to improve on with all of our routines. Nothing is every perfect in Synchro and Biz always tells us: “We want to be improving to the very last second before we walk on and compete and if that means changing a arm or a figure the day of the competition you have to be mentally tough enough to be able to achieve this goal to keep moving forward.”

While we were out in Barcelona I’m sure most people knew that the FINA Diving World Cup was being held at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park.

It’s so exciting that the Aquatics Centre is being used now and I can’t wait for our test event.

The synchro girls were keeping up to date with the results through twitter and all of the divers did so well and I’m so happy for all of them! It’s so exciting that the Aquatics Centre is being used now and I can’t wait for our test event from April 18th -22nd.

The team were given two days off to recover after the meet and we will all meet back on poolside at 07:00 Wednesday morning ready to analyse our routines, personal performances and preparation.

After this we will then spend a day making changes to our routines from feedback from the judges and international coaches to step our routines forwards before Qualifiers in April.

Tickets will be on sale for The London Prepares Series – FINA Olympic Games Synchronised Swimming Qualification at 10:00 on Thursday 15th March. British Synchro fans have an exclusive 48-hour ticket priority. CLICK HERE for more details.

CLICK HERE to follow Asha on Twitter.

European Champs 2016