Competing on the national stage can be a daunting prospect for young synchronised swimmers so we tracked down former GB international star Asha Randall to ask for her top tips.
Asha was just 18 when she was selected as duet reserve for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. After competing at the 2009 World Championships, 2010 European Championships and 2011 World Champs, Asha made her Olympic debut with Team GB at London 2012, finishing sixth in the Team event.
She retired from the sport after competing at her third World Championships in 2013 and is now working in Dubai for Hamilton Aquatics.
What are the most important things that judges are looking for at NAG Synchro?
The most important things that judges are looking for, whether it is Solo, Duet or Team, are precision, synchronisation with the music, difficulty of the routine technically and also artistic impression. This can be how you use the music, your presentation and how creative and unique the routine is.
How do you deal with nerves? Are some nerves good for you?
I believe it is healthy to be nervous, but you will need to use your nerves in a good way. Our Olympic team found the best way to control our nerves was to just think and say to each other ‘it’s just like training’. You will have swam a million run throughs of your routine in training, you know what to do, what your corrections are. It’s just like training.
What was your routine for big competitions?
My routine the night before a competition would be the same, no matter how big or small the meet was – every competition is important. There would be a video review of the training session beforehand to write down and note any last minute corrections. I would then make sure that I fuelled my body well with a healthy meal containing the right amount of carbs and protein. I would pack my competition bag ready for the next day and then make sure I had an early night as sleep is vital for your recovery; both mental and and muscular.
I would make sure I had an early night as sleep is vital for your recovery; both mental and muscular
How did you ensure you were best-prepared when you got in the water?
Whether we had to take a bus or walk to the pool I would always listen to music to help me focus. I would go through my competition land warm up to make sure that my body and brain was activated before heading into the water. If I had to do figures, I would read through my corrections that my coach wrote out for me to make sure I was prepared.
What do you remember from competing at NAG Synchro when you were a junior swimmer?
I remember always looking forward to the NAG. Before I competed as a junior for Great Britain, this would have been the most important competition of the year.
If you had one piece of advice for swimmers this weekend, what would it be?
I would say my one piece of advice would be to keep focus but also enjoy yourself and remember that all of the hard work has already been done. This is why we dedicate hours in the pool training. Good luck everyone!