English Synchronised Swimming Leadership Team

The English Synchronised Swimming Leadership Team (SSLT) was created in 2016 to develop a strategy for the sport of synchro in England.

The Synchronised Swimming Leadership Team are responsible for developing and reviewing plans to grow the sport at every level.

Working alongside staff at Swim England, the Team want to ensure a performance structure that delivers podium success in 2024 and beyond.

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Meet The Team

Find out more about the different members of the Synchronised Swimming Leadership Team below:

Maria Ramos, Chair of the Synchronised Swimming Leadership TeamMaria Ramos

Maria started synchronised swimming aged 10, and qualified as a FINA A judge in 2008. She established a new synchro section at Hythe Aqua alongside her sister over 20 years ago.

Maria was previously the secretary for Kent Synchro, as well as the Chair of the Great Britain Synchronised Swimming Committee from 2004 to 2014.

Hannah Secher, Workforce Development LeadHannah Secher

Hannah is the workforce development lead for the English Synchronised Swimming Leadership Team. She is responsible for looking at the judging and coaching pathways in particular.

Hannah has been a member of Rugby Synchronised Swimming Club for 23 years, starting as a swimmer and then as head coach for the past 12 years.

She has been a FINA Judge since 2011. Hannah’s daughter was born three days after the 2015 National Championships.

Sarah Speers, Coaching and Competition LeadSarah Speers

Sarah is responsible for reviewing the coaches pathway and competition frameworks within English Synchronised Swimming.

Sarah swam with City of Leeds and Trafford Synchro while at university, competing in synchro from age 10-22. She recently started competing again as a Masters swimmer for City of Leeds, where she is the head coach.

She has been involved in coaching England Programmes Synchro age group squads since 2012 and won the Sue Ryder Yorkshire Women of Achievement Award in Sport in 2015.

She is a qualified tutor and recently started the Coach Plus programme to develop her coaching skills.

Ian Atkinson, Executive Meet DirectorIan Atkinson

Ian is the Executive Director for Swim England national synchro events.

He brings a wealth of experience in sports presentation and event management as well as a fresh approach to technology and innovation.

Ian’s first synchronised swimming competition was the 2009 LEN European Junior Championships in Gloucester, where he provided some technical assistance with television and IT. He has been involved with Swim England and British Synchronised Swimming at every level since.

He has helped to bring sports presentation, technology and broadcast into the sport, and is currently Meet Director for both the National Age Groups and National Championships.

Ian was selected as Sports Equipment Team Leader for London 2012 and worked across all aquatic disciplines for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Sarah Clarke, Athlete Awards LeadSarah Clarke

Sarah will lead on Athlete Awards for the English Synchronised Swimming Leadership Team as well as helping to build a powerful workforce in the sport.

Sarah has been involved with synchronised swimming for more than 25 years and started aged eight in Carlisle.

She competed for 15 years for Trinity Synchro and then Trafford Synchro, taking part in the World Masters Championships in 2004 and 2006.

She supports the North West Region as a coach, senior assessor, judge and team manager and is a FINA G Judge.

Karen Thorpe, ASA Talent Development Officer for Synchronised SwimmingKaren Thorpe

Karen started in synchro as an athlete and was part of senior, junior and age group squads, competing at Olympic qualifiers, World Championships, European and European Junior Championships from 1986-1995.

She was a club coach from 1996 to 2006, GBR Senior Duet Assistant Coach from 1997 to 1998 for the World Championships in Perth, Australia, and also the GBR Junior Coach from 1998 to 2001 at the Junior Europeans and some smaller international competitions.

Karen has worked for us since 2006 and developed the England Programmes Synchro pathway and the start of the Beacon Programmes. She helped achieve qualification to the Rio Olympics with the British Duet and, after the UK Sport funding cut in 2013 and the cease of the HPC and staff, she took on a greater role encompassing the elite strand back into the England pathway.

Sarah Darragh, ASA National Synchronised Swimming Development OfficerSarah Darragh

Sarah started synchronised swimming with Preston Swimming club at 13 years old and competed at local, county and regional level.

She held club roles such as swim 21 coordinator, membership officer and workforce coordinator and was the Aquatics Development Officer for Preston City Council. She also previously worked as our North West Regional Officer.

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