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Transition Time: California Duet Training Camp

4th March 2013

Asha Randall made her Olympic debut as part of Team GB at London 2012 last year. This season she’s preparing to compete as a duet with Katie Clark as well as part of the team and has just returned from a training camp in the USA.

Katie Clark and I have just got back from a training camp in California. We were lucky enough to live in Walnut Creek, San Francisco with a family and train with our US coach Tammy McGregor for three weeks!

This was both our first time training out in San Fran with Tammy and it was also our first time away as just a duet. Tammy has been working with us and our team for many years now and she was one of our coaches alongside Biz and Lolli at the Olympics. It was great to go out to Walnut Creek where she lives and train with her and her staff instead of her always coming to us.

The flexibility sessions were very intense and there were tears!

We stayed with the Simonelli Family for the three weeks we were training out there. Lauren, the daughter who is 13, is one of Tammy’s swimmers at the synchro club she coaches at (The Aquanuts) so the family was very familiar with synchronised swimming and had also housed Jenna and Olivia when they came to train with Tammy the year of the Games.

Training out there was amazing and we learnt so much!

We trained 3.5hrs in the pool for synchro specific duet work, then we would have an hour swimming session with the masters at the swimming centre we trained at and then, depending on the day, we would then have either an hour gym session on our own or a 90 minute flexibility session with Lucy who was an ex-rhythmic gymnastics coach.

We would also have a land drill session with Yuka, another coach at the synchro club, for a hour twice a week. Yuka is an ex-synchro swimmer from Japan. She really honed down on every detail on our land drill sessions and worked on our posture and presentation which is so important for a synchronised swimmer when in the pool.

The flexibility sessions were very intense and there were tears!

Lucy really worked on our back and split flexibility with a lot of over splits using chairs. We also did some conditioning and point work for our feet as this is very important for synchronised swimmers. As much as we would dread Lucy's sessions, they were amazing and we could see huge improvements from just two sessions a week for the three weeks.

For the synchro sessions we had Tammy coaching us but also every other day we would also be coached by Gail who used to coach Tammy when she was a swimmer.

Gail was a very technical coach and really focused on the elements in our routines and also our posture. Tammy really focused on matching our routines and making sure we were doing exactly the same thing and if something didn’t look quite right we would adapt it and change it to something that matched us as a duet straight away.

If something didn't look quite right we would adapt it and change to something that matched us as a duet.

It was so nice to be able to train for three weeks as just a duet as you really feel like you improve so much as an athlete just having one coach to two swimmers. You get a lot more attention and coaching which was really great to have for that short amount of time before coming back to the UK.

Training was rather chilly while we were away. When we started our sessions the outside temperature would be as low as -1 degrees! And we were training in outdoor pools. Luckily they were heated! Although it was very cold while we were training out there we did manage to catch a good tan as it was very sunny so that was a plus!

We had two days off while we were out in San Fran and Katie and I really wanted to make sure we made the most of it and did all the touristy things we could fit in in two days!

During our first Sunday off we went to the city and walked round Pier 39 and had lunch in Fisherman’s wharf and on our last Sunday off we went back to the city and went to Alcatraz! This was an amazing experience. We did the audio tour there which was so interesting and we were lucky that the day we went was an amazing sunny day so the view of the city from the island was just breath taking.

We were also lucky to see the amazing British band Muse while we were out there at the Oakland Oracle stadium! They were incredible live and to be able to see them in San Francisco was just a bonus to the trip!

While we were away, the senior trials were in motion back in Aldershot so when we came back to training in the UK there were a lot of new young faces!

Training has been going well with the new team members; they are learning and improving very quickly. Katie and I haven’t trained very much with them for the past few weeks since we have been back as we have been preparing for the German Open which will be our very first competition as a duet which is very exciting!

The German Open will be our very first competition as a duet which is very exciting.

We leave for the meet on the 5th March and will be competing on the 8th and 10th. We will be competing again at the British Championships in April too.

Training in California with Tammy and her staff was an amazing experience. We both loved it hopefully we can go back next year and train with them all again and stay with the Simonelli family again. They were so great to us and we were so grateful. Thank you Tammy for having us!

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